frighten out of (someone or something)(redirected from frightens them out of)
frighten out of (someone or something)
1. To cause someone or some animal to leave some place or thing by frightening them or it. I got a long stick to try to frighten the raccoon out of the air duct. They began sending threatening anonymous letters in an effort to frighten the man out of town.
2. To use fear or intimidation to cause or influence someone to avoid or stop doing something. A noun or pronoun is used between "frighten" and "out." My mother keeps trying to frighten me out of traveling to Europe with all these horror stories she heard through the grapevine. The mob is trying to frighten him out of testifying in court.
3. To cause someone to divulge or part with something by threatening them, especially with physical violence. A noun or pronoun is used between "frighten" and "out." If you think you're going to frighten a confession out of me, you've got another think coming. The gangsters abducted the businessman with the intention of frightening the money out of him.
4. To give someone a very serious shock or fright. A noun or pronoun is used between "frighten" and "out," typically some curse, vulgarity, or some word or phrase meaning "life" or "wits." Don't sneak up on me like that! You frightened the hell out of me! Thank goodness that car swerved out of the way in time. That really frightened the living daylights out of me!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.