[ frahyt-fuhl ]
/ ˈfraɪt fəl /


such as to cause fright; dreadful, terrible, or alarming: A frightful howl woke us.
horrible, shocking, or revolting: The storm did frightful damage.
Informal. unpleasant; disagreeable: We had a frightful time.
Informal. very great; extreme: That actor is very talented but a frightful ham.

Origin of frightful

Middle English word dating back to 1200–50; see origin at fright, -ful

Related forms

fright·ful·ly, adverbfright·ful·ness, nounun·fright·ful, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for frightfully

British Dictionary definitions for frightfully (1 of 2)


/ (ˈfraɪtfəlɪ) /


(intensifier)I'm frightfully glad

British Dictionary definitions for frightfully (2 of 2)


/ (ˈfraɪtfʊl) /


very alarming, distressing, or horrifying
unpleasant, annoying, or extremea frightful hurry

Derived Forms

frightfulness, 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