American English

Definition of frightened adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1  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.).
  2. 2(informal) I'd never do that. I'd be frightened to death. Thesaurusafraidscared frightened 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?scared feeling fear; worried that something bad might happen:The thieves got scared and ran away. She was scared that the glass would break.frightened feeling fear; worried that something bad might happen:a frightened childafraid, scared, or frightened?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/scared/frightened of something, or afraid/scared/frightened to do something, you think you are in danger of being hurt or suffering in some way. If you are scared/frightened about 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 might follow me. She looked at him with wide, terrified eyes. I was terrified of flying.alarmed afraid that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen:She was alarmed at the prospect of traveling alone.paranoid (somewhat informal) afraid or suspicious in a way that is not reasonable:You're just being paranoid.Patterns afraid/scared/frightened/terrified of spiders, etc. scared/frightened/paranoid about afraid/scared/frightened/terrified that afraid/scared/frightened to open the door, etc. Don't be afraid/scared/frightened/alarmed.
  3. Idioms
    be frightened/scared/terrified out of your wits
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    to be very frightened
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: frightened