frightened to death

frightened to death

 and 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.
See also: death, frighten
References in classic literature ?
At any rate, Captain Nichols was frightened to death of her.
He could not find Deesa, but he disturbed all the other elephants in the lines, and nearly frightened to death some gypsies in the woods.
I couldn't help it, Dinah; it was the baby's crying made me go--and yet I was frightened to death.
They had managed to obtain places in the King's service, and when they recognised Ferko with his eyes and legs sound and well they were frightened to death, for they feared he would tell the King of their conduct, and that they would be hung.
Some day you will see your own shadow, little Manu, and then you will be frightened to death.
Yes, out it came, and away ran Polly, frightened to death, and scrambled up on Aunt's chair, calling out, `Catch her
At this momentous crisis, Miss Cheggs proved herself a vigourous and useful ally, for not confining herself to expressing by scornful smiles a contempt for Mr Swiveller's accomplishments, she took every opportunity of whispering into Miss Sophy's ear expressions of condolence and sympathy on her being worried by such a ridiculous creature, declaring that she was frightened to death lest Alick should fall upon, and beat him, in the fulness of his wrath, and entreating Miss Sophy to observe how the eyes of the said Alick gleamed with love and fury; passions, it may be observed, which being too much for his eyes rushed into his nose also, and suffused it with a crimson glow.
Oh, me too," said Penny, frightened to death at Jacob, who had begun to nod and grin at her.
Uncle and nephew have been murdered--the one frightened to death by the very sight of a beast which he thought to be supernatural, the other driven to his end in his wild flight to escape from it.
I do hope and trust I shall not see her, for I should be frightened to death lest I should say anything about her husband.
They appeared, in short, frightened to death, at least so as to sit trembling and stupid, and not able to speak either, for the smoke.
Any other mortal man, except the very one whom Antaeus had now encountered, would have been half frightened to death by the Giant's ferocious aspect and terrible voice.
Here they joined other parties of the bigger boys, each with a captive or two, some willing to be tossed, some sullen, and some frightened to death.
Tommy Lawrence was frightened to death of Shanks," he smiled.
Now, women have got so many notches in their belt, the men are frightened to death.
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