frighten (one) to death

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frighten (one) to death

To shock or frighten someone very suddenly and/or 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.
See also: death, 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
References in classic literature ?
de Monte Cristo is relating horrible stories to us, doubtless intending to frighten us to death."
"It would seem that they are trying to frighten us to death," he said, laughing; "and, shame be upon me that I should confess it, I think they were close to accomplishing their designs upon me."
"It is sad to see David Cameron and George Osborne wrecking their political careers, with the compliant help of assorted elites, businessmen who want a quiet life and economists who always get things wrong, by trying to frighten us to death if we choose the freedom of Brexit from the EU" Columnist Sir Bernard Ingham "I was shocked when Cameron, and, in particular, Osborne, launched into this fairly frenetic campaign in favour of the EU" Sir John Nott, defence secretary during the Falklands War, has suspended himself from the Tory Party over the Prime Minister's "tirade of fear" over the EU "When I was growing up, there were two things that were unpopular in my house.
And I don't think anyone would dare criticise him about how he feels about his 'babies' now they're out of quarantine - because they frighten us to death.
It's just that all my life it seems there's consistently been a single major issue meant to frighten us to death; one that's always too big to understand and one to which the commentators and the general public had no real answer, no matter how hard they argued.
I'M not suggesting w e shouldn't take reasonable precautions against a pandemic of bird flu but I do seriously wonder if someone somewhere isn't trying to frighten us to death.
Spanish giants Atletico Madrid admitted last night: Leicester City frighten us to death!
I'm not suggesting we shouldn't take reasonable precautions against a pandemic of bird flu, but I do seriously wonder if someone somewhere isn't trying to frighten us to death.
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