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put the frighteners on (someone)

To frighten, threaten, or intimidate someone. Primarily heard in UK. Chelsea put the frighteners on Manchester United early on the in match, scoring a goal in the first five minutes and keeping constant pressure on their defence. The situation is so dire that banks have reportedly been sending round warning letters to try and put the frighteners on those whose mortgages are in arrears.
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put the frighteners on someone

If someone puts the frighteners on you, they threaten you or scare you. He and his chums tried to put the frighteners on Kelley before she had written a single word. Glenn Close put the frighteners on Michael Douglas and his family in `Fatal Attraction'. Note: `Frighteners' used to be a name for members of criminal gangs who were sent to frighten people into doing something.
See also: frighteners, on, put

put the frighteners on

threaten or intimidate. British informal
Literally, a frightener is a thug who intimidates victims on behalf of a gang.
1998 John Milne Alive & Kicking She decides to put the frighteners on him by hiring me as a private detective.
See also: frighteners, on, put

put the ˈfrighteners on (somebody)

(British English, slang) threaten somebody so that they will do what you want: They started putting the frighteners on the witness, sending him threatening letters.
See also: frighteners, on, put
References in periodicals archive ?
Just as The Frighteners takes psychic con man Frank Bannister (Michael J.
STEVE EVANS wants former Town winger Lionel Ainsworth to put the frighteners on Rotherham's rivals after making him his eighth close-season recruit.
While Carl is the most unconvincing villain in Soapland, he does manage to put the frighteners on Ian who quickly changes his mind, if only to make sure he keeps enough fingers on his hands to remain a top chef.
So don't put the frighteners on, as we diabetics know the system - and if we are careful we can lead a normal life, obesity or not.
THIS is a timely release of the special threedisc version of Peter Jackson's visually dazzling 1996 horror-comedy With King Kong doing a roaring trade in cinemas, The Frighteners proves the Kiwi director has more up his sleeve.
Dave Courtney, former friend of the Kray twins and said to be the inspiration for Vinnie Jones's character in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, will lead the group who will put the frighteners on the audience at a Halloween charity night.
DANGER MAN: Ronaldo has put the frighteners on Kenny Cun-; ningham; PORT OF CALL: England's Ledley Kingand Wayne Bridge arrive at their hotel today
June 17 /PRNewswire/-- Universal Pictures, in conjunction with Film Scouts(TM) will present a live on-line chat with The Frighteners director/co-writer/co-producer Peter Jackson on Friday, June 21, 1996 at 9:00 pm EST.
PAUL GASCOIGNE has doffed his cap at Shamrock Rovers for putting the frighteners into Tottenham.
On Halloween, let's hope the frighteners will be on the Liverpool dressing room.
A fearsome sight with a huge flattened head and rows of sharp pointed, curving teeth, this weirdo puts the frighteners on any passing meals with fins - not to mention some humans.
The Purple Monster were hoping to put the frighteners on Rafa Benitez's men after beating Oceania champions Sydney FC in the opening round but it was Liverpool's red giant who did the damage with a couple of well taken goals.
FRANK BENNETT insists the Scottish Rocks can put the frighteners on their BBL rivals if they see off Newcastle Eagles tomorrow at Braehead.
CALL centre staff in Liverpool put the frighteners on for charity.
NIGEL MARTYN is hoping Peter Schmeichel does not put the frighteners on Leeds' bid to return to the top of the Barclaycard Premiership table tomorrow.
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