fright

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give (someone) the fright of (someone's) life

To cause someone an extreme and sudden sensation of shock, surprise, or fear. I didn't see you standing there! You gave me the fright of my life! Seeing the car swerve right in front of her gave Mary the fright of her life.
See also: fright, give, life, of

receive the fright of (one's) life

To experience an extreme and sudden sensation of shock, surprise, or fear. I received the fright of my life when I noticed someone standing right behind me. Mary received the fright of her life as the car ahead of her swerved across traffic.
See also: fright, life, of, receive

get the fright of (one's) life

To experience an extreme and sudden sensation of shock, surprise, or fear. I got the fright of my life when I noticed someone standing right behind me. Mary got the fright of her life as the car ahead of her swerved across traffic.
See also: fright, get, life, of

Burn not your house to fright the mouse away.

Prov. Do not do something drastic when it is not necessary. Ellen: I don't like the shape of my nose; I think I'll have surgery to make it look better. Jane: But you can make your nose look better just by using different makeup. Don't burn your house to fright the mouse away. When someone pointed out a small flaw in Bob's latest painting, Bob wanted to tear the whole painting to shreds. "Now, now, Bob," his friends said, "burn not your house to fright the mouse away."
See also: away, burn, fright, house, mouse, not

stage fright

Acute nervousness when performing or speaking before an audience, as in When John first had to present his findings to the board of directors, stage fright made him stutter . [Second half of 1800s]
See also: fright, stage