To frighten is to make someone feel afraid. Your new look — pink hair, tattoos, and piercings — will probably frighten your grandparents.

If horror movies and haunted houses frighten you, they scare you, and all it might take to frighten your skittish cat is the sound of the vacuum cleaner or coffee grinder. Frighten is the verb form of the noun fright. although originally the verb was also fright. The Old English source is fyrhtu, "fear, dread, trembling, or horrible sight."

Definitions of frighten
  1. verb
    cause fear in
    “The stranger who hangs around the building frightens me”
    synonyms: affright, fright, scare
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    frighten someone by pretending to be stronger than one really is
    inspire awe in
    terrify, terrorise, terrorize
    fill with terror; frighten greatly
    make timid or fearful
    alarm, appal, appall, dismay, horrify
    fill with apprehension or alarm; cause to be unpleasantly surprised
    fill with anxiety, dread, dismay, or confusion
    frighten or scare, and often provoke into a violent action
    cow, overawe
    subdue, restrain, or overcome by affecting with a feeling of awe; frighten (as with threats)
    hold over
    intimidate somebody (with a threat)
    ballyrag, boss around, browbeat, bully, bullyrag, hector, push around, strong-arm
    be bossy towards
    cause sudden fear in or fill with sudden panic
    strike with horror or terror
    type of:
    excite, shake, shake up, stimulate, stir
    stir the feelings, emotions, or peace of
  2. verb
    drive out by frightening
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    type of:
    chase away, dispel, drive away, drive off, drive out, run off, turn back
    force to go away; used both with concrete and metaphoric meanings
Word Family

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