• synonyms


[free-sohn; French free-sawn]
noun, plural fris·sons [free-sohnz; French free-sawn] /friˈsõʊ̃z; French friˈsɔ̃/.
  1. a sudden, passing sensation of excitement; a shudder of emotion; thrill: The movie offers the viewer the occasional frisson of seeing a character in mortal danger.
Show More

Origin of frisson

1770–80; < French: shiver, shudder, Old French friçons (plural) < Late Latin frictiōnem, accusative of frictiō shiver (taken as derivative of frīgēre to be cold), Latin: massage, friction
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for frisson

Contemporary Examples of frisson

Historical Examples of frisson

  • These are the tapestries that grip the heart, that cause a frisson of joy to the beholder.

    The Tapestry Book

    Helen Churchill Candee

  • No purely physical theory can interpret all the mystery of the frisson.

  • And the appetite that drove her to ask for more, that was the only sauce–an appetite that was a frisson.

    The Missourian

    Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle

  • Her nourishment was ever the latest “frisson,” to use her own word.

    The Missourian

    Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle

  • I must have experiences, pictures, that frisson, as the French say.

    The Song of Songs

    Hermann Sudermann

British Dictionary definitions for frisson


  1. a shudder or shiver; thrill
Show More

Word Origin for frisson

C18 (but in common use only from C20): literally: shiver
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 frisson


1777, from French frisson, literally "shiver, thrill" (12c.), from Latin frigere "to be cold" (see frigid).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper