frighten the life out of someone

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frighten the life out of (one)

To shock or frighten one very suddenly and/or severely. (Hyperbolically alludes to frightening someone so severely as to cause them to die.) Don't sneak up on me like that, you frightened the life out of me! That car accident seems to have frightened the life out of Janet—she's still shaken by it.
See also: frighten, life, of, out

frighten the life out of someone

or

scare the life out of someone

INFORMAL
If someone or something frightens the life out of you or scares the life out of you, they frighten you very much. It used to frighten the life out of me when they tried to jump on the moving trains. Further tests revealed that I needed major heart surgery. It scared the life out of me.
See also: frighten, life, of, out, someone
References in classic literature ?
You're enough to frighten the life and soul out of her little delicious wits--flying all at once into such a blazing, ravaging, raging passion as never was, demmit
Now I want to see him bully and frighten the life out of defenders - including when he plays Manchester United and City as well as Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Labour MP Dave Anderson said: "If it's been so relatively simple to 'absorb' this change, why on earth did he cut it in the first place and frighten the life out of seriously disabled people in this country?
GLENN HODDLE: "We had Terry Butcher who used to frighten the life out of us".
The way he'd go on about how hard Ron Yeats was he'd frighten the life out of you.
The days when we could send a gunboat and frighten the life out of Johnny Foreigner are long gone.
This is the worst nightmare and would frighten the life out of you.
By that I mean he is a big, bustling, powerful striker who can frighten the life out of defenders.
Special officers Jayne Villiers and Dave Nicholson also assist with this event every year and frighten the life out of those who aren't expecting us all to turn up
Games against teams like this frighten the life out of me.
United are playing some great stuff and Wayne Rooney has rediscovered his goal-scoring boots which should frighten the life out of the rest of the Premiership.
They are facts to frighten the life out of any opponent, yet a degree of uncertainty still exists about tomorrow's RBS Six Nations Championship appointment with Ireland.
They have the capacity of beating New Zealand more than any other team, they frighten the life out of them.
I am sad, in fact, that we no longer live in an age when we can despatch gunboats to frighten the life out of Johnny Foreigner when he (or, I suppose, his sister Jessie Foreigner) mistreats one of Her Majesty's loyal subjects.
But there are two things guaranteed to frighten the life out of troubled adolescent Thomas King.
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