frighten(redirected from frightening)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal.
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!
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!
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.
frighten one out of one's witsand 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.
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 somethingand 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 deathand 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.
frighten someone or something awayand 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.
frighten the hell out of someoneand 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.
frightened to deathand 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.
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.
frighten somebody out of their witsalso scare somebody out of their wits
to cause extreme fear in someone Don't sneak up behind me like that – you frightened me out of my wits!
frighten/scare the (living) daylights out of somebody
to frighten someone very much Don't come up behind me like that. You scared the living daylights out of me!
frighten/scare somebody to death
to make someone feel very frightened David suddenly appeared in the doorway and scared me to death.
frighten/scare the hell out of somebody(informal)
to make someone feel very frightened He drives like a madman - frightens the hell out of me.
frighten/scare the life out of somebody
to make someone feel very frightened She frightened the life out of me, shouting like that.
frighten/scare somebody out of their wits
to make someone very frightened Don't shout like that - you scared me out of my wits!
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.
frighten awayor frighten off
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.