- such as to cause fright; dreadful, terrible, or alarming: A frightful howl woke us.
- horrible, shocking, or revolting: The storm did frightful damage.
- Informal. unpleasant; disagreeable: We had a frightful time.
- Informal. very great; extreme: That actor is very talented but a frightful ham.
Origin of frightful
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for frightfully
Additionally, the hotel is only open from December through Easter – a period of time when the weather in Lech is frightfully cold.What to Drink When it’s Cold? The Glory of Austrian Schnaps
January 25, 2014
Marcolina and I were frightfully hungry, but of course we have waited dinner for you.Casanova's Homecoming
She wore black and white and red, and she was frightfully smart, Betty thought.
I've been ill—influenza, you know—and I got so frightfully tired.
O, Bobbie, I do hate hurting you, and I do like you so frightfully much!
The Doubters replied with 'horrible objections,' which were frightfully effective.Bunyan
James Anthony Froude
- (intensifier)I'm frightfully glad
- very alarming, distressing, or horrifying
- unpleasant, annoying, or extremea frightful hurry
Word Origin and History for frightfully
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.