Definition of frightened adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˈfraɪtnd//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈfraɪtnd//
Nervous, Fear
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  • afraid; feeling fear a frightened child Don't be frightened. He sounded frightened. frightened of something What are you frightened of? frightened of doing something I'm frightened of walking home alone in the dark. frightened to do something I'm too frightened to ask him now. frightened that… She was frightened that the plane would crash. frightened for somebody I'm frightened for him (= that he will be hurt, etc.). (informal) I'd never do that. I'd be frightened to death. Synonymsafraidfrightened scared terrified alarmed paranoidThese words all describe feeling or showing fear.afraid [not before noun] feeling fear; worried that something bad might happen:There’s nothing to be afraid of. Aren’t you afraid (that) you’ll fall?frightened feeling fear; worried that something bad might happen:a frightened child She was frightened that the glass would break.scared (rather informal) feeling fear; worried that something bad might happen:The thieves got scared and ran away.afraid, frightened or scared?Scared is more informal, more common in speech, and often describes small fears. Afraid cannot come before a noun. It can only take the preposition of, not about. If you are afraid/​frightened/​scared of somebody/​something/​doing something or afraid/​frightened/​scared to do something, you think you are in danger of being hurt or suffering in some way. If you are frightened/​scared about something/​doing something, it is less a fear for your personal safety and more a worry that something unpleasant might happen.terrified very frightened:I was terrified (that) she wouldn’t come. She looked at him with wide, terrified eyes.alarmed afraid that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen:She was alarmed at the prospect of travelling alone.paranoid (rather informal) afraid or suspicious of other people and believing that they are trying to harm you, in a way that is not reasonable:You’re just being paranoid.Patterns afraid/​frightened/​scared of spiders, etc. frightened/​scared/​paranoid about afraid/​frightened/​scared/​terrified that afraid/​frightened/​scared to open the door, etc. Don’t be afraid/​frightened/​scared/​alarmed. See related entries: Nervous, Fear
  • Extra examples I got frightened when he lost his temper. I was nervous and frightened about the future. I’m rather frightened of dogs. Most of us are frightened by our emotions. My friend is too frightened of my father to come to our house. She was frightened to death when she saw her small daughter on the edge of the cliff. Simon was badly frightened at the result of his action. I’m frightened for him. She was frightened that the glass would break.Idioms
    be frightened/nervous/scared of your own shadow
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    to be very easily frightened; to be very nervous See related entries: Fear
    be frightened/scared/terrified out of your wits
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    to be very frightened
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: frightened