frighten to death
frighten (one) to death
To shock or frighten one very suddenly and severely. Hyperbolically alludes to frightening someone so badly as to cause them 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. Waking up to the sound of the howler monkeys nearly frightened us to death. We had no idea what we were hearing.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.