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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
force/frighten/beat etc sb into submission
▪ Napoleon threatened to starve the country into submission.
▪ But his presence has failed to frighten away the opposition and 11 runners have stood their ground at the five-day declaration stage.
▪ The extremist characterization frightened away mainstream civil rights organizations, which made Hampton even more vulnerable to attack.
▪ To frighten away thieves and bring fertility.
▪ Guns are shot into the branches to frighten away evil spirits.
▪ He frightened away the best of our health.
▪ He was cold, but he was more frightened than cold.
▪ And the more frightened I became, the angrier I grew.
▪ When she dies I think she is going to be more frightened than she expects.
▪ The Raiders can hardly imagine a more frightening sight.
▪ But Daphne flew on, even more frightened than before.
▪ Anthony Hopkins was much more frightening as a serial killer than Currie is as the son of Satan.
▪ But each day the voices returned, Marsha grew more frightened.
Most frightening of all, no one knew how you got it.
▪ That was probably the most frightened I had been.
Most frightening of all is the time scale.
▪ The letter H became the most frightening in the alphabet.
▪ I was most frightened by not knowing what made me afraid.
▪ His success in the fraudulent libel action against the Star newspaper undoubtedly frightened off a lot of the media.
▪ I was merely about to fire a blank to frighten off some stray cats.
▪ Al Jourgensen is seen wandering around the hotel foyer hugging a wooden duck, used to frighten off local wildlife.
▪ Tethered in the field, it hovers above the crop and frightens off pigeons, rooks and crows.
▪ It is the fear of frightening off investors that has stopped the government investing in water quality.
▪ The Spice Girl has told pals that Dan, of the group Tomcat, was frightened off by her ten tattoos.
▪ Your baby must have frightened off the intruder.
▪ Dad steadied the bottom of the ladder but it still swung about a bit which really frightened me.
▪ The consequences for the financial future of the nation and even of the world are really frightening.
▪ I was really frightened they would hurt each other.
▪ The Great Slayer really frightened me.
▪ When the Blefuscans saw me, they were so frightened that they jumped out of their ships and swam to the beach.
▪ The prospects of this change so frightened local businesses that they pushed the state Legislature to make the initiative illegal.
▪ Dad was so frightened to go.
▪ When he sees Queequeg enter, he is frightened so much that he can do nothing but observe him.
▪ The girl was so frightened by this that she opened the door herself.
▪ If I am alone in a room, I get so frightened I start to shake.
▪ Susan was so frightened of being alone, that she would not go to sleep, in case we left her.
▪ He strained backward and he was so frightened that they had a difficult time holding him.
▪ She was too frightened to struggle.
▪ We were too frightened to talk.
▪ He was too frightened to tell police.
▪ They are simply too frightened, Muratovic said.
▪ She is too frightened, too tense, like a coiled creature ready to do harm.
▪ Jerry and I are too frightened and too young to take part.
▪ This time, she said, she was too frightened to venture in, in case the thieves were still there.
▪ The girl was too frightened to move.
▪ At the beginning I was very frightened.
▪ It had now become a very frightening ride, and chills began to run through me.
▪ She reassured me, as I was very frightened, and was kindness itself.
▪ But that just made it a very frightening experience.
▪ Suddenly Jane was very frightened - for herself, for Mousa, and for her unborn child.
▪ I get very frightened when I think about it....
▪ Bruno was tall and naturally pale; more so now because he was also very frightened.
▪ Is it reasonable to be very frightened of a crash when the chances are one in one thousand that it will happen?
▪ I was never aware of being frightened as a child because I saw his fits many times.
▪ He in turn saw the waiting women, the frightened children, the solitary oak and the drinking soldiers.
▪ Male speaker I fear for Birmingham with this madman let loose, wandering around the streets frightening the children.
▪ She seemed frightened of the other children and avoided them for the initial part of free play.
▪ This is just a fable to frighten the children with a bit of free preaching thrown in.
▪ He cut his school off from the outside world so that nobody would see how cowed and frightened the children were.
▪ I wonder if the children in the engang are frightened.
▪ Egan recognizes the frightening ability children have to hurt their parents.
▪ It frightened me to death if you want to know.
▪ He never understood the fools who paid to frighten themselves to death.
▪ Even if a Black girl has nothing on her, it frightens her to death.
▪ It soon went too fast for him and the village pastor who appeared from the other direction was nearly frightened to death!
▪ Polly had never been so frightened in her life.
▪ In the first place, the opinion polls frightened the life out of everyone.
▪ One victim, who asked not to be named, said he was frightened for his life.
▪ But, as I predicted last Sunday, it frightened the life out of everyone at Smith Square.
▪ Although acquitted, he was frightened for his life.
▪ Of course, it frightened the life out of him.
▪ It frightened the life out of them.
▪ And it's frightening to some people.
▪ Television news, in other words, tends to frighten people.
▪ They think it was a trick by the Garda or the judges to frighten people and teach them a lesson.
▪ You are no longer frightened of certain people, situations or possible problems.
▪ Instead he frightens people with Hell every Sabbath.
▪ Although equations are a concise and accurate way of describing mathematical ideas, they frighten most people.
▪ They don't go around trying to frighten people just for pleasure.
▪ Why did he have to frighten people so much?
▪ Knowing the cat as well as she did, Mildred could see that, despite its size, it was frightened out of its wits.
▪ Maura, tears running down her face, was frightened out of her wits.
▪ There is a beautiful little iron-grey mare here that Alejandro has frightened out of her wits and says is too wet for polo.
▪ It had now become a very frightening ride, and chills began to run through me.
▪ These children almost see too much: they are so aware of what they see that they become frightened or overwhelmed.
▪ He wore sinister rimless spectacles, and had the potential to become frightening.
▪ The Republicans, by the 1940s, were becoming frightened.
▪ He became greatly frightened at this and made many motions to Dorothy to relieve him, but she could not understand.
▪ The letter H became the most frightening in the alphabet.
▪ Patients can feel insecure and frightened in this new environment and anxiety increases the risk of accident.
▪ Poor little thing, she would be feeling so lonely and frightened, and Jean's kind heart went out to her.
▪ Women who have never heard that such a response is not only possible but normal feel guilty and frightened.
▪ Daniel looked at the angry sea with its terrible waves, and he felt cold and frightened.
▪ They didn't know what she was talking about but they could feel she was frightened.
▪ He felt both elated and frightened.
▪ We lose our temper, feel cornered and frightened, it can be the work of an instant.
▪ He hadn't seemed frightened and he hadn't seemed sullen.
▪ She seemed frightened of the other children and avoided them for the initial part of free play.
▪ I tried to look very understanding, very sympathetic, but it seemed to frighten him.
▪ Hannah had been slow to warm up to her father and initially seemed frightened by him.
▪ Nowadays food can seem like a frightening health hazard.
▪ At first he seemed frightened, but after a while he started spending almost every Saturday there.
▪ It is as if they are trying to frighten us out of doing our job.
▪ He also made the mistake of trying to frighten the miners with the consequence of sticking to existing conditions.
▪ He was trying to frighten them.
▪ They will try to frighten voters back to the two old parties.
▪ Harriet thought that Ben was trying to frighten Paul, but Paul was hysterical.
▪ They don't go around trying to frighten people just for pleasure.
afraid/frightened/scared etc of your own shadow
be a (beautiful/strange/frightening etc) sight to behold
frighten/scare the life out of sb
▪ When, however-many years later-the script finally did arrive, two things scared the life out of me.
frighten/scare/terrify sb out of their wits
scare/frighten the (living) daylights out of sb
▪ Does the thought of death frighten you?
▪ Film-makers have always known that one way to capture an audience is to frighten it out of its wits.
▪ It frightens me to know that the rapist still hasn't been caught.
▪ Melissa spun round to see Eddie standing behind her. "You frightened the daylights out me!" she gasped. "I never heard you come in."
▪ Take that silly mask off -- you're frightening the children.
▪ The driver was frightened by the shots.
▪ The man pulled out a gun and managed to frighten off his attackers.
▪ Their lawyers tried to frighten us into signing the contract.
▪ Travis, you just frighten the dog when you play that music.
▪ What are you doing creeping up on me like that? You frightened the life out of me!
▪ He was broke and he was frightened.
▪ I think she was frightened to be too strict.
▪ I wasn't frightened of it.
▪ Many couples have been frightened by questionable results.
▪ Now he could imagine children being frightened of it.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Frighten \Fright"en\, v. t. [imp. Frightened; p. pr. & vb. n. Frightening.] [See Fright, v. t.] To disturb with fear; to throw into a state of alarm or fright; to affright; to terrify.

More frightened than hurt.
--Old Proverb.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"strike with fear, terrify," 1660s, from fright (n.) + -en (1). Related: Frightened; frightening. The earlier verb was simply fright (v.).


vb. To disturb with fear; to throw into a state of alarm or fright; to affright; to terrify.

  1. v. cause fear in; "The stranger who hangs around the building frightens me" [syn: fright, scare, affright]

  2. drive out by frightening

Usage examples of "frighten".

The baying was very faint now, and it ceased altogether as I approached the ancient grave I had once violated, and frightened away an abnormally large horde of bats which had been hovering curiously around it.

I was really frightened because I thought, if she realised we were Aboriginal, she might have the children taken away.

Brutus and his men that night Achates was born, only infinitely more frightening, more murderous.

I told her to keep quiet, but, being anxious not to frighten her, I dared not acquaint her with the danger we were running.

To prevent, therefore, any such suspicions, so prejudicial to the credit of an historian, who professes to draw his materials from nature only, we shall now proceed to acquaint the reader who these people were, whose sudden appearance had struck such terrors into Partridge, had more than half frightened the postboy, and had a little surprized even Mr.

Jannis saw how Ali Aga had fallen in the world, and suddenly he felt very fond of this Turk, whose misery frightened him.

And Adam suddenly realized that an emotionless, indifferent Amaranth was not the most frightening thing he could think of.

Only the monstrous, frightening head, with pointed ears aprick, hanging there immobile.

What eyes-and-ears reported from Altara and Arad Doman was all confusion, and the few reports beginning to seep out of Tarabon again were frightening.

But now, with the others gone, leaving the frightened Valeman alone with this unpredictable giant, Flick found himself unable to escape that terrible awesomeness that formed the essence of this strange man.

I made my way to the poor child, who was one of the dirtiest little unfortunates I ever saw, and found him very hot and frightened and crying loudly, fixed by the neck between two iron railings, while a milkman and a beadle, with the kindest intentions possible, were endeavouring to drag him back by the legs, under a general impression that his skull was compressible by those means.

After I had left her I began to examine the nature of my feelings towards her, and they frightened me, for I could neither behave towards Mdlle.

It takes Marie and Dougal two full days to find decent belay points for the hundred and fifty metres of the band, and every morning the rockfall is frequent and frightening.

The French spread victorious across the land, and these Riflemen were bereft and frightened.

When he thought of all that Blinky said, his heart went pit-a-pat so loudly that he became frightened at the very thought of running away.