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frightened

[frahyt-nd]
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adjective
  1. thrown into a fright; afraid; scared; terrified: a frightened child cowering in the corner.
  2. afraid; fearful (usually followed by of): He has always been frightened of heights.
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Origin of frightened

First recorded in 1715–25; frighten + -ed2
Related formsfright·ened·ly, adverbun·fright·ened, adjectivewell-fright·ened, adjective

Synonym study

2. See afraid.

frighten

[frahyt-n]
verb (used with object)
  1. to make afraid or fearful; throw into a fright; terrify; scare.
  2. to drive (usually followed by away, off, etc.) by scaring: to frighten away pigeons from the roof.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to become frightened: a timid child who frightens easily.
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Origin of frighten

First recorded in 1660–70; fright + -en1
Related formsfright·en·a·ble, adjectivefright·en·er, nounfright·en·ing·ly, adverbnon·fright·en·ing, adjectivenon·fright·en·ing·ly, adverbo·ver·fright·en, verbun·fright·en·ing, adjective

Synonyms

See more synonyms for frighten on Thesaurus.com
1. shock, startle, dismay, intimidate.

Synonym study

1. Frighten, alarm, scare, terrify, terrorize, appall all mean to arouse fear in people or animals. To frighten is to shock with sudden, startling, but usually short-lived fear, especially that arising from the apprehension of physical harm: to frighten someone by a sudden noise. To alarm is to arouse the feelings through the realization of some imminent or unexpected danger: to alarm someone by a scream. To scare is to frighten, often without the presence of real danger: Horror movies really scare me. To terrify is to strike with violent, overwhelming, or paralyzing fear: to terrify a city by lawless acts. To terrorize is to terrify in a general, continued, systematic manner, either wantonly or in order to gain control: His marauding armies terrorized the countryside. To appall is to overcome or confound by dread, dismay, shock, or horror: The suffering caused by the earthquake appalled him.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for frightened

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • De Lord A'mighty 'd come and frightened 'em all out of de waters.

  • When the storm came, she was frightened, and said, 'It is a retribution.'

    Malbone

    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • He was repeating like a frightened child, "For God's sake, Hal, don't die—don't die."

  • I was frightened, to be sure, yet I knew scarcely what to do.

    Biography of a Slave

    Charles Thompson

  • There's really nothing at all to be frightened about, my dear child.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana


British Dictionary definitions for frightened

frighten

verb (tr)
  1. to cause fear in; terrify; scare
  2. to drive or force to go (away, off, out, in, etc) by making afraid
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Derived Formsfrightened, adjectivefrightening, adjectivefrighteningly, adverb
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 frightened

frighten

v.

1660s, from fright + -en (1). Related: Frightened; frightening. The earlier verb was simply fright (Old English fyrhtan) "to frighten."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with frightened

frighten

see scare out of one's wits.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.