Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Best Internet Slang

frightful

[frahyt-fuh l] /ˈfraɪt fəl/
adjective
1.
such as to cause fright; dreadful, terrible, or alarming:
A frightful howl woke us.
2.
horrible, shocking, or revolting:
The storm did frightful damage.
3.
Informal. unpleasant; disagreeable:
We had a frightful time.
4.
Informal. very great; extreme:
That actor is very talented but a frightful ham.
Origin of frightful
1200-1250
Middle English word dating back to 1200-50; See origin at fright, -ful
Related forms
frightfully, adverb
frightfulness, noun
unfrightful, adjective
Synonyms
1. fearful, awful. 2. hideous, dread, horrid, ghastly; gruesome.
Antonyms
1, 2. delightful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for frightful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • All her thought was how to get him away from the frightful place.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • It was rather a frightful place to go into in search of the source of a shriek.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • There was a frightful grin of triumph twisting his mouth in this minute of punishment.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Down almost to our own day the depredations of wolves were frightful.

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • For about five minutes it was the most frightful scene I have ever witnessed.

    Ridgeway Scian Dubh
  • This was a very odd and frightful sort of figure, as you may well believe.

    The Three Golden Apples Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • And if I obeyed, to what delightful discoveries or frightful dangers might it lead?

    Green Mansions W. H. Hudson
British Dictionary definitions for frightful

frightful

/ˈfraɪtfʊl/
adjective
1.
very alarming, distressing, or horrifying
2.
unpleasant, annoying, or extreme: a frightful hurry
Derived Forms
frightfulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for frightful
adj.

mid-13c., "timid;" c.1600 "alarming;" from fright + -ful. In common with most -ful adjectives, it once had both an active and passive sense. Meaning "dreadful, horrible, shocking" (often hyperbolic) is attested from c.1700; Johnson noted it as "a cant word among women for anything unpleasing." Related: Frightfully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for frightful

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for frightful

19
21
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for frightful