[ freez ]
See synonyms for: freezefreezingfrozenfroze on

verb (used without object),froze, fro·zen, freez·ing.
  1. to become hardened into ice or into a solid body; change from the liquid to the solid state by loss of heat.

  2. to become hard or stiffened because of loss of heat, as objects containing moisture: Meat will freeze in a few hours.

  1. to suffer the effects of intense cold; have the sensation of extreme cold: We sat there freezing until the heat came on.

  2. to be of the degree of cold at which water freezes: It may freeze tonight.

  3. to lose warmth of feeling; be stunned or chilled with fear, shock, etc.: My heart froze when she told me the news.

  4. to become immobilized through fear, shock, etc.: When he got in front of the audience he froze.

  5. to stop suddenly and remain motionless; halt: I froze in my tracks.

  6. to become obstructed by the formation of ice, as pipes: Our basement water pipes often freeze in winter.

  7. to die or be injured because of frost or cold.

  8. (of a screw, nail, or the like) to become rigidly fixed in place, as from rust or dirt.

  9. to become fixed to something by or as if by the action of frost.

  10. to become unfriendly, secretive, or aloof (often followed by up): He froze at such a personal question.

  11. Digital Technology. (of hardware or software) to become temporarily inoperable; cease to function (often followed by up): The new software made my laptop freeze.

verb (used with object),froze, fro·zen, freez·ing.
  1. to harden into ice; change from a fluid to a solid form by loss of heat; congeal.

  2. to form ice on the surface of (a river, pond, etc.).

  1. to harden or stiffen (an object containing moisture) by cold.

  2. to quick-freeze.

  3. to subject to freezing temperature; place in a freezer or in the freezing compartment of a refrigerator.

  4. to cause to suffer the effects of intense cold; produce the sensation of extreme cold in.

  5. to cause to lose warmth as if by cold; chill with fear; dampen the enthusiasm of.

  6. to cause (a person or animal) to become fixed through fright, alarm, shock, etc.: Terror froze him to the steering wheel.

  7. to kill by frost or cold: A late snow froze the buds.

  8. to fix fast with ice: a sled frozen to a sidewalk.

  9. to obstruct or close (a pipe or the like) by the formation of ice: The storm had frozen the hydrant.

  10. to fix (rents, prices, etc.) at a specific amount, usually by government order.

  11. to stop or limit production, use, or development of: an agreement to freeze nuclear weapons.

  12. Finance. to render impossible of liquidation or collection: Bank loans are frozen in business depressions.

  13. Digital Technology. to render (hardware or software) temporarily inoperable: Ironically, it was a security update for my operating system that froze my computer.

  14. Surgery. to render part of the body insensitive to pain or slower in its function by artificial means.

  15. Cards.

    • Canasta. to play a wild card on (the discard pile) so as to make it frozen.

    • Poker. to eliminate (other players) in a game of freezeout.

  16. to photograph (a moving subject) at a shutter speed fast enough to produce an unblurred, seemingly motionless image.

  17. Movies. to stop by means of a freeze-frame mechanism: You can freeze the action at any point.

  18. Sports. to maintain possession of (a ball or puck) for as long as possible, usually without trying to score, thereby reducing the opponent's opportunities for scoring.

  19. Ice Hockey. to hold (a puck) against the boards with the skates or stick, causing play to stop and forcing a face-off.

  1. the act of freezing; state of being frozen.

  2. Also called ice-up .Meteorology. a widespread occurrence of temperatures below 32°F (0°C) persisting for at least several days: A freeze is expected in the coastal areas.

  1. a frost.

  2. Digital Technology. a cease in function when software gets caught in loops or hardware lacks sufficient processing power to continue a task.

  3. a legislative action, especially in time of national emergency, to control prices, rents, production, etc.: The government put a freeze on new construction.

  4. a decision by one or more nations to stop or limit production or development of weapons, especially nuclear weapons.

Verb Phrases
  1. freeze on / onto Informal. to adhere closely to; hold on; seize.

  2. freeze out, to exclude or compel (somebody) to withdraw from membership, acceptance, a position of influence or advantage, etc., by cold treatment or severe competition.

  1. freeze over, to coat or become coated with ice: The lake freezes over for several months each year.

Origin of freeze

First recorded before1000; (verb) Middle English fresen, Old English frēosan; cognate with Middle Low German vrēsen, Dutch vriezen, Old Norse frjōsa, Old High German friosan (German frieren ); (noun) late Middle English frese, derivative of the verb

Other words from freeze

  • freez·a·ble, adjective
  • freez·a·bil·i·ty, noun
  • de·freeze, verb (used with object), de·froze, de·fro·zen, de·freez·ing.
  • non·freez·a·ble, adjective
  • post·freeze, adjective
  • pre·freeze, verb (used with object), pre·froze, pre·fro·zen, pre·freez·ing.
  • re·freez·a·ble, adjective
  • re·freeze, verb, re·froze, re·fro·zen, re·freez·ing.
  • un·freez·a·ble, adjective

Words that may be confused with freeze

Words Nearby freeze Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use freeze in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for freeze


/ (friːz) /

verbfreezes, freezing, froze (frəʊz) or frozen (ˈfrəʊzən)
  1. to change (a liquid) into a solid as a result of a reduction in temperature, or (of a liquid) to solidify in this way, esp to convert or be converted into ice

  2. (when intr, sometimes foll by over or up) to cover, clog, or harden with ice, or become so covered, clogged, or hardened: the lake froze over last week

  1. to fix fast or become fixed (to something) because of the action of frost

  2. (tr) to preserve (food) by subjection to extreme cold, as in a freezer

  3. to feel or cause to feel the sensation or effects of extreme cold

  4. to die or cause to die of frost or extreme cold

  5. to become or cause to become paralysed, fixed, or motionless, esp through fear, shock, etc: he froze in his tracks

  6. (tr) to cause (moving film) to stop at a particular frame

  7. to decrease or cause to decrease in animation or vigour

  8. to make or become formal, haughty, etc, in manner

  9. (tr) to fix (prices, incomes, etc) at a particular level, usually by government direction

  10. (tr) to forbid by law the exchange, liquidation, or collection of (loans, assets, etc)

  11. (tr) to prohibit the manufacture, sale, or use of (something specified)

  12. (tr) to stop (a process) at a particular stage of development

  13. (tr) informal to render (tissue or a part of the body) insensitive, as by the application or injection of a local anaesthetic

  14. (intr foll by onto) informal, mainly US to cling

  1. the act of freezing or state of being frozen

  2. meteorol a spell of temperatures below freezing point, usually over a wide area

  1. the fixing of incomes, prices, etc, by legislation

  2. another word for frost

sentence substitute
  1. mainly US a command to stop still instantly or risk being shot

Origin of freeze

Old English frēosan; related to Old Norse frjōsa, Old High German friosan, Latin prūrīre to itch; see frost

Derived forms of freeze

  • freezable, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for freeze


[ frēz ]

  1. To change from a liquid to a solid state by cooling or being cooled to the freezing point.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.