SKIP TO CONTENT

frisson

A frisson is a thrilling shiver. Some people love roller coasters so much that they feel a frisson of excitement just looking at one.

You're just as likely to feel a frisson whether you're scared or excited; its meaning lies directly between thrill and fear. When you hear a scary sound in the basement late at night, and open the door to investigate, you might feel a frisson of fear as you start to descend the steps. The Latin root is frigere, "to be cold," and while a frisson is certainly shivery, its source is a thrill rather than a chill.

Definitions of frisson
  1. noun
    an almost pleasurable sensation of fright
    “a frisson of surprise shot through him”
    synonyms: chill, quiver, shiver, shudder, thrill, tingle
    see moresee less
    type of:
    fear, fearfulness, fright
    an emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger (usually accompanied by a desire to flee or fight)
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week