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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English fright, furht, from Old English fryhtu, fyrhto (fright, fear, dread, trembling, horrible sight), from Proto-Germanic *furhtį̄ (fear), from Proto-Indo-European *perg- (to frighten; fear).

Cognate with Scots fricht (fright), Old Frisian fruchte (fright), Low German frucht (fright), Middle Dutch vrucht, German Furcht (fear, fright), Danish frygt (fear), Swedish fruktan (fear, fright, dread), Gothic 𐍆𐌰𐌿𐍂𐌷𐍄𐌴𐌹 (faurhtei, fear, horror, fright). Albanian frikë (fear, fright, dread, danger) and Romanian frică (fear, fright, dread) are also cognates, although probably influenced by an early Germanic variant.


English Wikipedia has an article on:

fright (countable and uncountable, plural frights)

  1. A state of terror excited by the sudden appearance of danger; sudden and violent fear, usually of short duration; a sudden alarm.
    • 1994, Stephen Fry, chapter 2, in The Hippopotamus:
      With a bolt of fright he remembered that there was no bathroom in the Hobhouse Room. He leapt along the corridor in a panic, stopping by the long-case clock at the end where he flattened himself against the wall.
  2. Anything strange, ugly or shocking, producing a feeling of alarm or aversion.
    • 1819, Lord Byron, Don Juan, I:
      Her maids were old, and if she took a new one,
      You might be sure she was a perfect fright;
      She did this during even her husband's life
      I recommend as much to every wife.
Derived termsEdit


fright (third-person singular simple present frights, present participle frighting, simple past and past participle frighted)

  1. (archaic, transitive) To frighten.
    • William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
      Are not you he [] That frights the maidens of the villagery []  ?

Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

Probably short for affright, from Middle English afright, from Old English āfyrht, past participle of āfyrhtan (to make afraid; terrify).


fright (comparative more fright, superlative most fright)

  1. (rare) frightened; afraid; affright
    • 1946, Sydney Sïrdani, Don't be Fright: Radio Magic, page 10:
      Don't be fright, it is not so impossible as it seems.
    • 2003, Ben Hodges, Forbidden Acts:
      Don't be fright, I'm not going to hurt you.
    • 2014, Jessica Stirling, Shamrock Green:
      He had a great heavy jaw and shoulders like an ox and bore no resemblance to Maurice Leonard. 'Come along, lad,' the sergeant said. 'Come along. Don't be fright. It's what you're here for now, ain't it?'

Middle EnglishEdit

Etymology 1Edit



  1. Alternative form of frith


Etymology 2Edit

From Old English fryhtu, from earlier fyrhtu, from Proto-Germanic *furhtį̄.

Alternative formsEdit


  • IPA(key): /ˈfrixt(ə)/, [ˈfriçt(ə)]


fright (plural *frightes)

  1. A fright or scare.

Related termsEdit