- to make afraid or fearful; throw into a fright; terrify; scare.
- to drive (usually followed by away, off, etc.) by scaring: to frighten away pigeons from the roof.
- to become frightened: a timid child who frightens easily.
Origin of frighten
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
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 frighteningly
Published in 1886, this remains a frighteningly accurate portrait of the alcoholic personality.The 10 Best Books on Literary Drunkenness
December 28, 2013
A woman in a cupcake of a wedding dress, with her wedding party behind her, stands against a frighteningly bruise-hued sky.Photographer Raymond Depardon Captures the ‘Sweet Moments’
November 15, 2013
Presumed to be infected with tuberculosis—potentially fatal and frighteningly infectious—she and Kowerski were released.World War II’s Most Glamorous Spy: Christine Granville
July 7, 2013
Tough, frighteningly ambitious, politically savvy, and willing to take outsize risks.The Brutal Fall of Brazilian Billionaire Eike Batista
June 25, 2013
That high falsetto is frighteningly convincing, which raises the question: could a man really have pulled it off?Listen Here: Voicemails From Manti Te’o’s ‘Girlfriend’
January 24, 2013
Surprisingly, frighteningly light they were, as if filled with cotton.Valley of the Croen
He was walking in that frighteningly slow, measured way toward the village.Shaman
The backward vista down the years is too frighteningly long.The Belovd Vagabond
William J. Locke
And instantly he remembered that Jill was very near the place where frighteningly impossible things were happening.Operation Terror
William Fitzgerald Jenkins
The staff broke into a frighteningly off-key rendition of "Happy Birthday to You."The Great Gray Plague
Raymond F. Jones
- to cause fear in; terrify; scare
- to drive or force to go (away, off, out, in, etc) by making afraid
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 frighteningly
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Idioms and Phrases with frighteningly
see scare out of one's wits.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.