frighten

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frightened of (one's) (own) shadow

Easily or constantly spooked, nervous, timid, afraid, or fearfully suspicious. I can't say I have much faith in Johnny helping us on this expedition—that boy's frightened of his own shadow! You can't live life frightened of your shadow—you need to get out into the world and taste adventure!
See also: frighten, of, shadow

frighten the (living) daylights out of (someone)

To shock or frighten someone very suddenly and/or severely. Don't sneak up on me like that; you frightened the living daylights out of me!
See also: daylight, frighten, of, out

frighten the shit out of (someone)

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

frighten the life out of someone

To shock or frighten someone 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 (one) to death

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

frighten the hell out of someone

To shock or frighten someone very suddenly and/or severely. Don't sneak up on me like that, you frightened the hell out of me! That car accident seems to have frightened the hell out of Janet—she's still shaken by it.
See also: frighten, hell, of, out

frighten (one) out of (one's) wits

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

frighten one out of one's wits

 and scare one out of one's wits; frighten someone out of a year's growth; scare someone out of a year's growth; frighten one out of one's mind; scare one out of one's mind
Fig. to frighten one very badly. Oh! That loud noise scared me out of my wits. I'll give him a good scolding and frighten him out of his wits. Oh, you frightened me out of a year's growth! You frightened Bob out of his mind.
See also: frighten, of, one, out, wit

frighten (someone or an animal) into doing something

to threaten someone or an animal into doing something. You can't frighten me into leaving! Let's try to frighten the coyotes into running away.
See also: frighten

frighten someone (or an animal) into something

 and frighten someone or an animal in 
1. to scare someone or an animal into entering something or some place. The trouble in the neighborhood frightened most of the residents into their houses. The mouse was out of its hole, but we came in and frightened the little mouse back in.
2. to scare someone or an animal into a particular state. They frightened me into a quivering mass. The mouse was frightened into a state of confusion.
See also: frighten

frighten (someone or an animal) to death

 and scare someone or an animal to death
1. Lit. to frighten a living creature badly enough to cause death. The roar of the plane engine seems to have frightened the little dog to death.
2. Fig. to frighten someone severely. The dentist always frightens me to death. She scared me to death when she screamed.
See also: death, frighten

frighten someone or something away

 and frighten someone or something off
to scare someone or something off. The noise frightened the burglar away. Something frightened away the prowlers. The high prices frightened the shoppers off.
See also: away, frighten

frighten the hell out of someone

 and frighten the pants off someone; frighten the living daylights out of someone; scare the living daylights out of someone; scare the shit out of someone; scare the wits out of someone
to frighten someone badly, suddenly or both. (Use of hell and shit are crude.) These figures frighten the hell out of me. The door blew shut and scared the shit out of me. It takes a lot to scare the pants off a hardened criminal.
See also: frighten, hell, of, out

frightened to death

 and scared to death 
1. Lit. frightened to the point of dying. This poor animal has been frightened to death by the attacking dogs.
2. Fig. frightened or anxious. I don't want to go to the dentist today. I'm frightened to death. I'm frightened to death of spiders.
See also: death, frighten

You scared the hell out of me.

 and You scared the crap out of me.; You scared the dickens out of me.; You scared the devil out of me.; You scared me out of my wits.; You scared the pants off (of) me.
You frightened me very badly. (Also with subjects other than second person. Of is usually retained before pronouns.) He scared the hell out of all of us. She really scared the pants off of me.
See also: hell, of, out, scare

scare out of one's wits

Also, frighten out of one's wits; scare stiff or silly or to death or the living daylights out of or the pants off . Terrify, make one panic, as in When the lights went out, she was scared out of her wits, or I was scared stiff that I would fail the driver's test. The first of these hyperbolic terms, scare out of one's wits, is the oldest and, like silly, suggests one is frightened enough to lose one's mind. The verb scare dates from about 1200, and out of one's wits was first recorded in William Tyndale's translation of the Bible in 1526 (I Corinthians 14:23): "Will they not say that ye are out of your wits?" They were first put together in 1697, the same period from which came scare out of one's seven senses, a usage now obsolete. The variant using daylights, which sometimes occurs without living, dates from the 1950s. Daylights at one time referred to the eyes but here means "vital organs." Frighten to death was first recorded in Charles Dickens's Barnaby Rudge (1840) and scare to death probably appeared about the same time. However, to death used as an intensifier dates from the 1500s. These terms allude to the fact that a sudden fright can precipitate cardiac arrest. Scare stiff, first recorded in 1905, alludes to the temporary paralysis that can accompany intense fear. For the last variant, see also under pants off.
See also: of, out, scare, wit

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

frighten (or scare) the (living) daylights out of

give someone a very severe fright.
This expression was a mid 20th-century development from beat the living daylights out of , on the premise that the effect of extreme fear is as drastic as physical violence.
1955 Frank Yerby The Treasure of Pleasant Valley Didn't mean to hit him…Meant to throw close to him and scare the living daylights out of him.
See also: daylight, frighten, of, out

be frightened to death

be made very alarmed and fearful. informal
See also: death, frighten

frighten the horses

cause consternation or dismay; shock.
1996 Independent No matter the inadvertent hurt or crass provocation or outright insult, bite your tongue, be pleasant, be polite, don't frighten the horses.
See also: frighten, horse

frighten the life out of

terrify.
See also: frighten, life, of, out

be frightened (or scared) out of your wits

be extremely frightened.
See also: frighten, of, out, wit

frighten/scare the ˈlife out of somebody

frighten somebody very much: Don’t do that! You scared the life out of me creeping up on me like that!
See also: frighten, life, of, out, scare, somebody

be frightened/nervous/scared of your own ˈshadow

be very easily frightened; be very nervous: Since the attack he’s been a changed man. He’s nervous of his own shadow and doesn’t like to go out alone at night.

frighten/scare somebody out of their ˈwits

frighten somebody very much: I was scared out of my wits when I looked out of the window and saw the aircraft’s engine on fire.
See also: frighten, of, out, scare, somebody, wit

frighten away

or frighten off
v.
To cause someone or something to leave or to stay away due to fear: The sound of my shotgun frightened the crows away. The alarm frightened away the burglar. The big dog frightens off unwanted guests. The scary-looking house frightened neighborhood children off.
See also: away, frighten
References in periodicals archive ?
The Frighteners - Unrated Director's Cut'' (Universal; $26.
Weta has created award-winning special effects for films such as CONTACT and The Frighteners.
THREAT: David tries to put the frighteners on teenager Lachlan
She fears for her life, but when a wild-eyed Charity also steps in to put the frighteners on, Maxine soon realises Cain was playing nice in comparison.
FORMER international heavyweight boxer Dermot Gascoyne will put the frighteners on shoppers in Dewsbury for Halloween.
I believe this is a red herring that has been raised by individuals in order to put the frighteners on the PFA and other organisations.
50 Warwick SP forecast 5-2 So many unknowns in this line-up, but if any of them are going to be good enough to put the frighteners up Nicky Henderson's recent Exeter winner, they will have to be well above average.
Mr Foster, of Banff, said: "These measures sound good but I think the police need to put the frighteners on these young drivers.
We really put the frighteners up some superb teams.
Scotland youngster Darren Fletcher yesterday urged the Tartan Army to put the frighteners on Slovenia ( just as they did to the superstars of Holland last year.
Violinist Rachel McDonnell added a suitably dark edge to the keyboards and guitars while singer Rogue wandered about the venue with torches strapped to his shoulders, putting the frighteners up the audience.
HALLOWEEN may still be weeks away but a Wirral pumpkin farm is already preparing to put the frighteners on its customers.
Meanwhile, Eric (Chris Chittell) refuses to get involved in Viv (Deena Payne) and Edna's (Shirley Stelfox) campaign against the phone mast and Ray (Seamus Gubbins) puts the frighteners on Cain (Jeff Hordley).
The backlot set, originally constructed as the Hill Valley courthouse square for the "Back To The Future" film series, will be transformed into the town of Fairwater from "The Frighteners.
Weta is the Southern Hemisphere's premier effects facility and has produced award-winning visual effects for films such as CONTACT and The Frighteners.
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