From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishfrightenfright‧en /ˈfraɪtn/ ●●● S3 W3 verb [transitive] FRIGHTENEDto make someone feel afraid SYN scare Don’t stand so near the edge! You’re frightening me. She was frightened by the anger in his eyes. Computers used to frighten me, but not now.frighten somebody to death/frighten the life out of somebody (=make someone feel extremely afraid) He drove at a speed which frightened Lara to death.THESAURUSfrighten to make someone feel afraidThe thought of being in court frightened him.scare especially spoken to frighten someone. Scare is less formal than frighten, and is the usual word to use in everyday EnglishHe was driving fast just to scare us.It scared him to think that his mother might never recover.terrify to make someone feel extremely frightenedThe idea of going down into the caves terrified her.Robbers terrified bank staff by threatening them at gunpoint.give somebody a fright to make someone suddenly feel frightened in a way that makes their heart beat more quicklyIt gave me a terrible fright when I found him unconscious on the floor.give somebody the creeps if a person or place gives you the creeps, they make you feel slightly frightened because they are strangeThis house gives me the creeps.startle to frighten someone. Used when you suddenly see someone and did not know they were there, or when you suddenly hear somethingI’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.The noise startled him, and he dropped his glass on the floor.alarm to make someone feel frightened and worried that something bad might happenI didn’t want to alarm her by calling in the middle of the night.intimidate to deliberately frighten someone, especially so that they will do what you wantMany of the gangs were using dogs to intimidate people. → frighten somebody ↔ away → frighten somebody into something → frighten somebody/something ↔ off→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusfrighten• He was broke and he was frightened.• Many couples have been frightened by questionable results.• The driver was frightened by the shots.• 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.• I wasn't frightened of it.• Now he could imagine children being frightened of it.• The man pulled out a gun and managed to frighten off his attackers.• Take that silly mask off -- you're frightening the children.• Melissa spun round to see Eddie standing behind her. "You frightened the daylights out me!" she gasped. "I never heard you come in."• 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!• I think she was frightened to be too strict.• Their lawyers tried to frighten us into signing the contract.• Does the thought of death frighten you?