top of page
The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce frightening (audio)

Dictionary definition of frightening

Evoking fear, terror, or a strong sense of unease.
"The horror movie was so frightening that I had trouble sleeping that night."

Detailed meaning of frightening

It characterizes situations, objects, or experiences that elicit intense and overwhelming feelings of fright or dread. When something is described as frightening, it implies a threat or danger that triggers a visceral response in individuals. This can manifest in various ways, such as a rapid heartbeat, increased adrenaline, or a desire to avoid or escape the source of fear. Frightening circumstances can arise from encounters with supernatural entities, perilous situations, menacing individuals, or even from vivid and disturbing imaginations. The impact of something frightening can be subjective, varying from person to person based on their personal fears, experiences, and susceptibility to fear-inducing stimuli. Overall, the adjective "frightening" conveys the powerful and unsettling nature of something that generates profound fear or terror.

Example sentences containing frightening

1. The sudden loud noise was startling and frightening to the young child.
2. The sight of the spider crawling towards her was absolutely frightening.
3. The haunted house had a reputation for being the most frightening attraction in town.
4. The storm grew more intense, with thunder and lightning making it even more frightening.
5. The eerie silence in the abandoned building was incredibly frightening.
6. The frightening scene in the horror novel made my heart race.

History and etymology of frightening

The adjective 'frightening' is formed from the verb 'frighten,' which has its roots in Middle English. The Middle English term 'frightenen' was influenced by the Old English word 'fyrhtan,' meaning 'to frighten' or 'to terrify.' This Old English word is thought to have originated from the Proto-Germanic word 'frihtijan,' which conveyed the notion of inducing fear or terror. The etymology of 'frightening' traces back through these historical stages, highlighting its role in describing things or situations that evoke fear, terror, or a strong sense of unease, ultimately emphasizing its ability to cause fright or distress in people.

Quiz: Find the meaning of frightening

Try Again!


Further usage examples of frightening

1. The roller coaster's steep drops and sharp turns were exhilarating but also frightening.
2. The sound of footsteps approaching from behind was absolutely frightening in the dark alley.
3. The old, creaking house had a frightening atmosphere that sent shivers down my spine.
4. The menacing growl of the wild animal was both frightening and awe-inspiring.
5. The news of the impending natural disaster was deeply frightening to the residents of the coastal town.
6. The frightening storm unleashed its fury upon the coastal town.
7. Her frightening gaze sent shivers down my spine.
8. The eerie silence in the haunted house was truly frightening.
9. The darkness of the forest at night can be quite frightening.
10. A frightening scream echoed through the abandoned factory.
11. The sudden, frightening twist in the plot left me breathless.
12. The sinister figure in the alleyway was truly frightening.
13. The frightening howl of the wolf echoed through the mountains.
14. The idea of losing my loved ones is truly frightening.
15. The hauntingly frightening dreams kept me awake all night.
16. The terrifying movie left me with a frightening sense of dread.
17. The frightening truth about the virus's spread is alarming.
18. The prospect of war is a frightening thought for everyone.
19. The supernatural events in the story were genuinely frightening.
20. The eerie, foggy night had a frightening aura about it.
21. The sound of footsteps in the empty house was frightening.
22. The old, decrepit mansion had a truly frightening aura.
23. The eerie silence of the graveyard was hauntingly frightening.
24. The frightening tales of the deep sea send shivers down my spine.
25. The frightening roar of the lion in the wilderness was bone-chilling.



terrifying, comforting, soothing, reassuring


Chasms and Carnage, Fear and Anxiety, Anxiety and Fear

bottom of page