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[free-sohn; French free-sawn] /friˈsõʊ̃; French friˈsɔ̃/
noun, plural frissons
[free-sohnz; French free-sawn] /friˈsõʊ̃z; French friˈsɔ̃/ (Show IPA)
a sudden, passing sensation of excitement; a shudder of emotion; thrill:
The movie offers the viewer the occasional frisson of seeing a character in mortal danger.
Origin of frisson
1770-80; < French: shiver, shudder, Old French friçons (plural) < Late Latin frictiōnem, accusative of frictiō shiver (taken as derivative of frīgēre to be cold), Latin: massage, friction Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for frisson
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No purely physical theory can interpret all the mystery of the frisson.

  • These are the tapestries that grip the heart, that cause a frisson of joy to the beholder.

    The Tapestry Book Helen Churchill Candee
  • I must have experiences, pictures, that frisson, as the French say.

    The Song of Songs Hermann Sudermann
  • Her nourishment was ever the latest “frisson,” to use her own word.

    The Missourian Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
  • The frisson, oh, those few exquisite seconds of emotion, eh Berthe?

    The Missourian Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
British Dictionary definitions for frisson


a shudder or shiver; thrill
Word Origin
C18 (but in common use only from C20): literally: shiver
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 frisson

1777, from French frisson, literally "shiver, thrill" (12c.), from Latin frigere "to be cold" (see frigid).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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