witless

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Related to witlessness: lawlessness

be scared witless

To be very severely frightened or worried. I was scared witless when I thought I heard footsteps on the staircase when no one else was home. We were scared witless when we woke up to the sound of the howler monkeys. We had no idea what it was coming from. I'm scared witless that the tests are going to come back positive.
See also: scare, witless

be bored witless

To be extremely bored. My flight's been delayed, and I'm bored witless after sitting around the airport all day.
See also: bore, witless

scare (one) witless

To shock or frighten someone very suddenly and/or severely. (Hyperbolically alludes to frightening someone so severely as to cause them to lose their mind.) Don't sneak up on me like that, you scared me out of my wits! That car accident seems to have scared Janet out of her wits—she's still shaken by it.
See also: scare, witless

scare someone witless

INFORMAL
If something or someone scares you witless, they make you very frightened or worried. I saw that film when I was in Paris and it scared me witless. You read about all these things that can cause cancer and it scares you witless.
See also: scare, someone, witless

be scared/bored ˈwitless

(informal) be extremely frightened or bored: Despite his reputation as a tough guy, he admits that he was ‘scared witless’ when he first arrived in New York.
See also: bore, scare, witless
References in periodicals archive ?
Herodotus' comment that he was fated to die is an indication of his witlessness.
We are reacting against the humorless, witlessness of modern liberal life.
like the voice of witlessness, humour, persistency itself" among the things "people had shed and left--a pair of shoes, a shooting cap, some faded skirts and coats in wardrobes" (129).
Either there is presence or absence, wit or witlessness, phallus or lack.
And if the nation's cultural landscape eventually looks like the most ravaged sections of western Pennsylvania once did, and the number of people who can distinguish wit from witlessness and sexual allure from full-frontal exposure is reduced to a corporal's guard, well, that's the cost of doing business.
Although BBC2's jaw-droppingly dreadful sketch show The Ginge, The Geordie and The Geek takes witlessness to a whole new level.
For all of the witlessness which has been served up by the Black Cats this season, their travelling support remains a reassuring constant.
The pathetic is achieved when the protagonist is, by virtue of his witlessness, his insensitivity, or the very air he gives off, incapable of grappling with a much superior force.
Yet this woeful piece of web witlessness has had 1,464 hits - and counting.
I'm afraid that Jo and her fellow contestants sum up all that is wrong and shallow in the business world - the fragile, over-inflated egos' the ugly greed and, worst of all, the sheer witlessness of those involved.
Indeed, the spate of not-quite-reality celebrity-corns that have surfaced since "Curb" for the most part only heighten admiration for the HBO show's deft balancing act as well as the pain of watching silliness topple into witlessness.
The attending press corps doesn't comment on either the witlessness or the inappropriateness of the remark because it is recognized as the casting of a sacred spell.
Inadvertent laughs: Well, you almost have to laugh at the witlessness of some of the dialogue.
If the overt horrors of Gotham of 1989 are the price that must be paid for escaping the shams and genteel witlessness of 1953's Wonderful Town, it doesn't seem too steep.
Ranger's witlessness has known no bounds over the past 18 months but, even by his standards, it was a particularly offensive message for supporters who are effectively subsidising the five-year contract he is sitting on now.