witless

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be scared witless

To be very severely frightened or worried. I was scared witless when I thought I heard footsteps on the staircase when no one else was home. We were scared witless when we woke up to the sound of the howler monkeys. We had no idea what it was coming from. I'm scared witless that the tests are going to come back positive.
See also: scare, witless

be bored witless

To be extremely bored. My flight's been delayed, and I'm bored witless after sitting around the airport all day.
See also: bore, witless

scare (one) witless

To shock or frighten 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 scared me out of my wits! That car accident seems to have scared Janet out of her wits—she's still shaken by it.
See also: scare, witless

scare someone witless

INFORMAL
If something or someone scares you witless, they make you very frightened or worried. I saw that film when I was in Paris and it scared me witless. You read about all these things that can cause cancer and it scares you witless.
See also: scare, someone, witless

be scared/bored ˈwitless

(informal) be extremely frightened or bored: Despite his reputation as a tough guy, he admits that he was ‘scared witless’ when he first arrived in New York.
See also: bore, scare, witless
References in periodicals archive ?
The lesson of recent months is that if citizens stop engaging one another as shapers of a common destiny society will drift witlessly, from alarm to alarm, and all the social scientists' horses and men won't put Humpty Dumpty together again.
Their love was dangerous," the ads witlessly declared, focusing entirely on Claire Danes as Cosette and a lesser known actor as her beau, Marius Pontmercy (Hans Matheson).
Two Gentlemen, however, rejects these two traditional schemes in setting forth its initial formulation, but only to contradict itself when the explicit blockage of the male quest in act 1 is abruptly reestablished as its destination in act 2: the witty Valentine comes out in Milan witlessly in love with Silvia.
Ultimately, he hopes his efforts will extend beyond human-robot teamwork, leading to autonomous robots that can work together without witlessly beating each other into piles of parts.
Witlessly complicit in that dismal game was Michael Dukakis, who refused to honor and promote the extraordinary liberal tradition from which he sprang, and which offered him the only ideological base and political constituency for victory,
The tales are endless: the hedge fund founder desperate to get his son into one of Greenwich's socially swell private schools who clips a six-figure check to the first page of the application, witlessly forcing the school to reject both his son and his check or lose all credibility," Wolfe writes.
He has behaved witlessly over this nonsense, forgetting that the publications he sought to censure will have nights on the beer to celebrate circulation hikes, then pay the fines and wait for their next chance.
And as we pick up where we left off, with episodes originally due to be screened last Wednesday and Thursday, Maria witlessly stumbles into the Underworld siege where the mood is tenser than cheap knicker elastic.
As Maria witlessly stumbles into the siege, the mood is tenser than cheap knicker elastic.
In fact, this Ivanov seems as comically clueless--and as witlessly attractive--as any modern slacker hero, which for once makes the adoration of his admirers entirely plausible.
Where England witlessly let Wales off the hook in the second half, it is unlikely that the Springboks will be so generous.
Profligate with our natural assets, we witlessly witness their expenditure in a waste of shame.
With such an interesting casebook to delve into,five witlessly made use of animation and silly voice overs in the form of C4's Eurotrash and irritating music.
Tonight's debut of ``Naturally Stoned'' is a thoroughgoing disaster - since absolutely nothing of interest happens, much of the show comes in the form of montage sequences accompanied by witlessly snarky narration (even the narrator doesn't seem to like Woolery).
Lancelot, unable to accept such a fate, goes insane and leaps through a window, "his face a mask of pain," and witlessly runs away.