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  1. sudden and extreme fear; a sudden terror.
  2. a person or thing of shocking, grotesque, or ridiculous appearance.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to frighten.
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Origin of fright

before 900; Middle English; Old English frytu, fyrhto; akin to German Furcht
Related formsself-fright·ed, adjectiveun·fright·ed, adjective

Synonyms for fright

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for fright

consternation, dismay, horror, panic, trepidation, alarm, shock, shiver, dread, terror, fear, scare, quaking, frump, mess, bother, eyesore, monstrosity, ugliness, nuisance

Examples from the Web for fright

Contemporary Examples of fright

Historical Examples of fright

British Dictionary definitions for fright


  1. sudden intense fear or alarm
  2. a sudden alarming shock
  3. informal a horrifying, grotesque, or ludicrous person or thingshe looks a fright in that hat
  4. take fright to become frightened
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  1. a poetic word for frighten
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Word Origin for fright

Old English fryhto; related to Gothic faurhtei, Old Frisian fruchte, Old High German forhta
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 fright


Old English (Northumbrian) fryhto, metathesis of fyrhtu "fear, dread, trembling, horrible sight," from Proto-Germanic *furkhtaz "afraid" (cf. Old Saxon forhta, Old Frisian fruchte, Old High German forhta, German Furcht, Gothic faurhtei "fear"). Not etymologically related to the word fear, which superseded it 13c. as the principal word except in cases of sudden terror. For spelling evolution, see fight.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper