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put the frighteners on (someone)

To frighten, threaten, or intimidate someone. Primarily heard in UK. Chelsea put the frighteners on Manchester United early on the in match, scoring a goal in the first five minutes and keeping constant pressure on their defence. The situation is so dire that banks have reportedly been sending round warning letters to try and put the frighteners on those whose mortgages are in arrears.
See also: frighteners, on, put

put the frighteners on someone

If someone puts the frighteners on you, they threaten you or scare you. He and his chums tried to put the frighteners on Kelley before she had written a single word. Glenn Close put the frighteners on Michael Douglas and his family in `Fatal Attraction'. Note: `Frighteners' used to be a name for members of criminal gangs who were sent to frighten people into doing something.
See also: frighteners, on, put, someone

put the frighteners on

threaten or intimidate. British informal
Literally, a frightener is a thug who intimidates victims on behalf of a gang.
1998 John Milne Alive & Kicking She decides to put the frighteners on him by hiring me as a private detective.
See also: frighteners, on, put

put the ˈfrighteners on (somebody)

(British English, slang) threaten somebody so that they will do what you want: They started putting the frighteners on the witness, sending him threatening letters.
See also: frighteners, on, put
References in periodicals archive ?
Tony sends a couple of thugs |to put the frighteners on Liz
MAAMA MOLITIKA will return to boost the Cardiff Blues today and bid to put the frighteners on the Falcons.
The hulking striker's battling second-half display put the frighteners on promotion hopefuls MK Dons who had been cruising at 4-0 after an hour thanks to an Aaron Wilbraham hattrick and spectacular strike from Jemal Johnson.
The overall picture is that it might put the frighteners on people, if it stops one person speeding and saves one life, it will have been worthwhile.
The Frighteners," his first Hollywood foray, was less auspicious.
Some of his first designs "ended up being a big deal" to kids who grew up to be makeup artists and other professional frighteners, he said, so he's re-releasing some of Distortions' original catalog in limited collector's editions of 1,000.
He has since gone on to star in numerous feature films, including "Seven," "The Frighteners," "Leaving Las Vegas," "Dead Man Walking," "Toy Story," "Toy Story 2" and Stanley Kubrick's cult classic, "Full Metal Jacket.
STAFF at a Huddersfield town centre hair salon put the frighteners on customers on Saturday - but all in a good cause.
But goalkeeper Lonergan (left), among the new recruits, says that unpredictability will put the frighteners on Premier League Stoke.
He calls up a couple of his thug chums and instructs them to put the frighteners on his missus.
e other letter puts the frighteners on over the elected mayor for the Teesside region.
Newcastle 1 Liverpool 0 SUPERSUB Ayoze Perez put the frighteners on Liverpool with the goal that sealed a FOURTH successive win for Newcastle.
SIR - As underground coal mining, which is one of the most hazardous of all occupations, formed a major part of the Welsh economy as far back as the 14th century, I'm afraid John Childs' (Letter, October 13) scare stories of fracking are little more than the green brigade's usual frighteners.
They'll have the Kop in full voice roaring them on and putting the frighteners on City.
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