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frightful

[frahyt-fuhl]
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adjective
  1. such as to cause fright; dreadful, terrible, or alarming: A frightful howl woke us.
  2. horrible, shocking, or revolting: The storm did frightful damage.
  3. Informal. unpleasant; disagreeable: We had a frightful time.
  4. Informal. very great; extreme: That actor is very talented but a frightful ham.
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Origin of frightful

Middle English word dating back to 1200–50; see origin at fright, -ful
Related formsfright·ful·ly, adverbfright·ful·ness, nounun·fright·ful, adjective

Synonyms

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Antonyms

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

Related Words

decidedlybadlyintenselymightilydesperatelythoroughlyseriouslynotoriouslyawfullyexceedinglygreatlydreadfullyremarkablyhighlyextremelyunbelievablyhorriblyfrightfullyfearfullymarkedly

Examples from the Web for frightfully

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Marcolina and I were frightfully hungry, but of course we have waited dinner for you.

    Casanova's Homecoming

    Arthur Schnitzler

  • She wore black and white and red, and she was frightfully smart, Betty thought.

  • I've been ill—influenza, you know—and I got so frightfully tired.

  • O, Bobbie, I do hate hurting you, and I do like you so frightfully much!

  • The Doubters replied with 'horrible objections,' which were frightfully effective.

    Bunyan

    James Anthony Froude


British Dictionary definitions for frightfully

frightfully

adverb
  1. (intensifier)I'm frightfully glad
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frightful

adjective
  1. very alarming, distressing, or horrifying
  2. unpleasant, annoying, or extremea frightful hurry
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Derived Formsfrightfulness, noun
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 frightfully

frightful

adj.

mid-13c., "timid;" c.1600 "alarming;" from fright + -ful. In common with most -ful adjectives, it once had both an active and passive sense. Meaning "dreadful, horrible, shocking" (often hyperbolic) is attested from c.1700; Johnson noted it as "a cant word among women for anything unpleasing." Related: Frightfully.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper