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2017 Word of the Year

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.
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Examples from the Web for frightfully
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Marcolina and I were frightfully hungry, but of course we have waited dinner for you.

    Casanova's Homecoming Arthur Schnitzler
  • 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
  • I liked him when I met him, but he's frightfully bitter since the strike.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • As it happened, Mazel was in a frightfully bad humour that day.

    His Masterpiece Emile Zola
  • This alley, this bit of staircase which was frightfully dark, terrified him.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • I am frightfully, dreadfully sorry, but it does not make the least difference to me.

    Howards End E. M. Forster
British Dictionary definitions for frightfully

frightfully

/ˈfraɪtfəlɪ/
adverb
1.
(intensifier): I'm frightfully glad

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
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Word Origin and History for frightfully

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
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