frighten (one) to death

(redirected from frightened them 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.
See also: death, frighten, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
He said: "We frightened them to death over there because with all the British bands it was one-way traffic.
"They talk about the Hampshire game at the Rose Bowl a few years ago when apparently he got angry and frightened them to death.
QPR frightened them to death far too often last time out and Rovers fans have to fear that they'll be cut to shreds by City.
Griffiths added: "Jason has been up a few times to help me along the way, like I said we worked together for a season at Doncaster and had some great success up there and just missed out on promotion, which frightened them to death nearly.
'We frightened them to death in the first game at our place, so if we have that attitude again we can do the same.
"We frightened them to death at the Millennium Stadium and they will be afraid of that fear factor when they play us at the San Siro.
Hughes played only one more game - another dismal defeat by Denmark - before he took over as manager after Terry Venables, the FA of Wales' first choice, frightened them to death by asking for a salary that sounded like a telephone number.
He pointed it at them and frightened them to death by saying he would shoot if they tried to run.
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