verb (used with object)

to frighten.


sudden fear or terror; fright.
a source of terror.
the act of terrifying.

Origin of affright

before 1000; Middle English afrighten, Old English āfyrhtan, equivalent to ā- a-3 + fyrhtan to fright
Related formsself-af·fright·ed, adjectiveun·af·fright·ed, adjectiveun·af·fright·ed·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for affright

fright, intimidate, alarm, startle, spook, daunt, panic, scare, terrify

Examples from the Web for affright

Historical Examples of affright

  • In a swerve he almost stopped, every muscle of his big body trembling in affright.


    W. A. Fraser

  • Polly lingered near, affright in her heart, Oh, if her father were only there!

  • Her eyes roved to Garnache's, and fell away in affright before their glitter.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Blood and wounds, Master Joseph, think you to affright me with words?

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

  • He groaned aloud unconsciously and started with affright at the sound of his own voice.

    Almayer's Folly

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for affright



(tr) to frighten


a sudden terror

Word Origin for affright

Old English āfyrhtan, from a-, a prefix indicating the beginning or end of an action + fyrhtan to fright
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

Word Origin and History for affright

1580s, a late construction from a- (1) + fright (v.), probably on model of earlier past participle adjective affright "struck with sudden fear" (metathesized from Old English afyrht). Related: Affrighted; affrighting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper