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put the fear of God into

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Terrify someone, as in The school counselor put the fear of God into the girls when she talked about AIDS. This phrase alludes to a time when most people had a mingled feeling of dread and reverence toward the deity. [Late 1800s]

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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.

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