• (US) enPR: frīt, IPA(key): /fɹaɪt/
  • Rhymes: -aɪt
  • (Canada, Northern US) IPA(key): /fɹʌit/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • (file)

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 *pr̥k- (to 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). Compare possibly Albanian frikë (fear, fright, dread, danger).


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. Someone 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.
    • c. 1595–1596 (date written), William Shakespeare, “A Midsommer Nights Dreame”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene i]:
      Are not you he [] That frights the maidens of the villagery []  ?
    • 1805, Songs for the Nursery, page 23:
      Little Miss Muffet, She sat on a tuffet, Eating of curds and whey; There came a little spider, Who sat down beside her, And frighted Miss Muffet away.
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume I, London: Henry Colburn, [], OCLC 21345056, page 263:
      A very fine situation was proposed to him, where he might have a noble view of the ocean; but he started back, with an attitude of terror Betterton might envy, when Hamlet meets his father's ghost, and cried out,—"Oh, Christ! the sea looks so fierce that it frights me!
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

Alternative formsEdit


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


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


fright (plural *frightes)

  1. A fright or scare.

Related termsEdit


  • English: fright
  • Scots: fricht