put the frighteners on

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

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 ?
When David stumbles in on Lauren bullying his niece, Bethany, he seizes the chance to put the frighteners on the schoolgirl.
Tony sends a couple of thugs |to put the frighteners on Liz
Tony sends a couple |of thugs to put the frighteners on Liz
EMMERDALE ITV 7pm and 8pm David tries to put the frighteners on Lachlan.
Was he under a stone when Ukip polled most votes in May 2014, or when Ukip won Rochester and Strood, or when Ukip won Clacton, or came second at Eastleigh, or came close to winning Middleton, or put the frighteners on Lib Lab Con at just about every election in the last five years?
Bookmakers, left battered and bruised by the results from matchday one, are now left fearing another horror story as eight odds-on favourites bid to put the frighteners on the reeling layers.
It would certainly put the frighteners on the scum who deal in such crime and I would be only too willing to pull the lever.
Mr Foster, of Banff, said: "These measures sound good but I think the police need to put the frighteners on these young drivers.
Trying to put the frighteners on developers and local authorities is not a solution.
CALL centre staff in Liverpool put the frighteners on for charity.
HALLOWEEN may still be weeks away but a Wirral pumpkin farm is already preparing to put the frighteners on its customers.
Newcastle 1 Liverpool 0 SUPERSUB Ayoze Perez put the frighteners on Liverpool with the goal that sealed a FOURTH successive win for Newcastle.
So don't put the frighteners on, as we diabetics know the system - and if we are careful we can lead a normal life, obesity or not.
BRADFORD 2 NORTHAMPTON 0 PROMOTION expert Peter Taylor is ready to put the frighteners on League Two again next season.
FRANK BENNETT insists the Scottish Rocks can put the frighteners on their BBL rivals if they see off Newcastle Eagles tomorrow at Braehead.