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[skair] /skɛər/
verb (used with object), scared, scaring.
to fill, especially suddenly, with fear or terror; frighten; alarm.
verb (used without object), scared, scaring.
to become frightened:
That horse scares easily.
a sudden fright or alarm, especially with little or no reason.
a time or condition of alarm or worry:
For three months there was a war scare.
Verb phrases
scare up, Informal. to obtain with effort; find or gather:
to scare up money.
Origin of scare
late Middle English
1150-1200; (v.) Middle English skerren < Old Norse skirra to frighten, derivative of skjarr timid, shy; (noun) late Middle English skere, derivative of the v.
Related forms
scarer, noun
scaringly, adverb
unscared, adjective
1. startle, intimidate. See frighten. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for scare up
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Couldn't you scare up some bread and butter for me from that tea?

    One Day More Joseph Conrad
  • Yes, mamma, and let us take Julio to scare up some partridges.

    Strong as Death Guy de Maupassant
  • So scare up all the cards you can, and bring out your army of scissors.

    The Art of Amusing Frank Bellew
  • I have to go round there every day and scare up news, he said.

    Joan of the Journal Helen Diehl Olds
  • How would it be to scare up a hunt to-morrow, and get a lot of these chaps to help?

    A Frontier Mystery Bertram Mitford
  • We'll scare up a conductor here somewhere; if we can't, I'll be your conductor.

    Held for Orders Frank H. Spearman
  • Nance, I have some biscuit and fudge in my grip, if you could scare up some tea.

  • Christmas Eve and all, it does really appear as if they might scare up a cow.

    The Wooing of Calvin Parks Laura E. Richards
British Dictionary definitions for scare up


to fill or be filled with fear or alarm
(transitive; often foll by away or off) to drive (away) by frightening
(transitive) (US & Canadian, informal) (foll by up)
  1. to produce (a meal) quickly from whatever is available
  2. to manage to find (something) quickly or with difficulty: brewers need to scare up more sales
a sudden attack of fear or alarm
a period of general fear or alarm
causing (needless) fear or alarm: a scare story
Derived Forms
scarer, noun
Word Origin
C12: from Old Norse skirra; related to Norwegian skjerra, Swedish dialect skjarra
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 scare up



1590s, alteration of Middle English skerren (c.1200), from Old Norse skirra "to frighten; to shrink from, shun; to prevent, avert," related to skjarr "timid, shy, afraid of," of unknown origin. In Scottish also skair, skar, and in dialectal English skeer, skear, which seems to preserve the older pronunciation. To scare up "procure, obtain" is first recorded 1846, American English, from notion of rousing game from cover. Related: Scared; scaring.



"something that frightens; sudden panic, sudden terror inspired by a trifling cause, false alarm," 1520s, alteration of Middle English sker "fear, dread" (c.1400), from scare (v.). Scare tactic attested from 1948.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for scare up

scare up

verb phrase

To find and produce; rustle: was among the goodies scared up at a flea market

[1853+; fr the rising or starting of wildlife, which sense is found by 1846]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with scare up

scare up

Also, scrape together or up . Assemble or produce with considerable effort, as in We managed to scare up extra chairs for the unexpectedly large audience , or He managed to scrape together enough cash to buy two more tickets . The first term alludes to scare in the sense of “flush game out of cover” and dates from the mid-1800s; the variant, alluding to scratching or clawing for something, was first recorded in 1549. Also see scrape up an acquaintance
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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