Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Sudden intense fear, as of something immediately threatening; alarm. See Synonyms at fear.
  • n. Informal Something extremely unsightly, alarming, or strange: Brush your hair; you look a fright.
  • transitive v. Archaic To frighten.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A state of terror excited by the sudden appearance of danger; sudden and violent fear, usually of short duration; a sudden alarm.
  • n. Anything strange, ugly or shocking, producing a feeling of alarm or aversion.
  • v. to frighten

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A state of terror excited by the sudden appearance of danger; sudden and violent fear, usually of short duration; a sudden alarm.
  • n. Anything strange, ugly or shocking, producing a feeling of alarm or aversion.
  • transitive v. To alarm suddenly; to shock by causing sudden fear; to terrify; to scare.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To frighten; affright; terrify; scare.
  • n. Sudden and extreme fear; terror caused by the sudden appearance or prospect of danger.
  • n. Anything which by its sudden occurrence or appearance may greatly startle and alarm; hence, by hyperbole, a person of a shocking, grotesque, or ridiculous appearance in either person or dress: as, she is a perfect fright.
  • n. Synonyms Terror, Dismay, etc. See alarm.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cause fear in
  • n. an emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger (usually accompanied by a desire to flee or fight)

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English fyrhto, fryhto. V., from Middle English frighten, to frighten, be afraid, from Old English fyrhtan.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English fright, furht, from Old English fryhtu, fyrhto ("fright, fear, dread, trembling, horrible sight"), from Proto-Germanic *furhtīn (“fear”), from Proto-Indo-European *perg- (“to frighten; fear”). Cognate with Scots fricht ("fright"), Old Frisian fruchte ("fright"), Gothic  (faúrhtei, "fear, horror, fright"). Also related to Low German frucht ("fright"), German Furcht ("fear, fright"), Danish frygt ("fear"), Swedish fruktan ("fear, fright, dread"). Albanian frikë ("fear, fright, dread, danger") and Romanian frică ("fear, fright, dread") are also cognates, although probably influenced by an early Germanic variant. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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