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  1. Olenek's Avatar
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    #1

    idioms meaning "to frighten"

    Hi,

    I've found some idioms with the sense "to frighten":

    1) "To make someone’s hair stand on end"/ "To make someone’s hair stand up on the back of someone’s neck" – to cause someone to be very frightened.
    When you make someone scared or panic or to shock them.

    2) "To curl someone’s hair"/ "To make someone’s hair curl" – to frighten or alarm someone; to shock someone with sight, sound, or taste.
    This expression may have developed in the middle of 20th century as a dramatic or humorous variation of "To make someone’s hair stand on end".

    3) "To make someone’s blood run cold"/ "To make someone’s blood curdle" – to shock or horrify someone.
    The phrase comes from the medieval physiological scheme of the four humours in the human body (melancholy, blood, phlegm and choler). Under this scheme blood was the hot, moist element, so the effect of horror or fear in making the blood run cold or curdling (solidifying) it was to make it unable to fulfill its proper function of supplying the body with vital heat or energy.

    4) "To scare the pants off someone" (slang) – to frighten someone very badly.

    5) "To scare someone out of their wits/ senses" – to frighten someone badly, suddenly or both.

    6) "To scare living daylights out of someone" – give someone a very severe fright.
    This expression was a mid 20th-century development from "To beat the living daylights out of" on the premise that the effect of extreme fear is as drastic as physical violence.
    “Daylight” or “daylights” has been used from the mid 18th century as a metaphor for “eyes”, and here has the extended sense of any vital organ of the body.

    7) "To frighten/ scare the hell/ the sh*t out of someone - to make someone feel very frightened.

    8) "To give someone the willies" – make someone feel very nervous and apprehensive (fast ride, exams etc.).
    Willies has historical references back to a man acting like a child, but also was reference in Yugoslavia as a spirit or ghost.

    9) "To give someone the creeps" – to make you feel frightened or nervous ; to cause someone to feel dislike or disgust.

    Are these idioms used in your country?
    Do you use/ know other idioms with the same sense?

    Many Thanks for all your answers!

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: idioms meaning "to frighten"

    In appropriate circumstances I've used them all, except 2. 'To curl someone's hair' is what a coiffeur does. 'To make someon'e hair curl' sin't about fear in my experience; it's about food: 'Try the Vindaloo [hot curry] - it'll make your hair curl'. (With this meaning you could also say 'it'll make your eyes water'.

    b

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    #3

    Re: idioms meaning "to frighten"

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    In appropriate circumstances I've used them all, except 2.
    same^

    What I use most frequently is "you/it scared the sh*t out of me"

  3. Mr_Ben's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: idioms meaning "to frighten"

    I agree with BobK and freezeframe, I've used them all but in different situations.

    There are 2 different types of fear being described here: In a film, there's the apprehension, suspense and extreme anxiety when the main character is home alone and begins to suspect that someone else is in the house. Then there's the heart-attack moment when the cat makes a loud screech and jumps down from the top of the fridge on top of them!

    Apprehension, suspense, anxiety:
    "To make someone’s hair stand on end"/ "To make someone’s hair stand up on the back of someone’s neck"
    "To make someone’s blood run cold"/ "To make someone’s blood curdle"
    "To give someone the willies/ heebie-jeebies"
    "To give someone the creeps"
    To freak someone out

    Heart-attack, shock:
    "To scare the pants off someone"
    "To scare someone out of their wits/ senses/ mind/ life"
    "To scare living daylights out of someone" slightly archaic now, I think
    "To frighten/ scare the hell/ the sh*t out of someone"
    To give (or nearly give) someone a heart attack
    To scare someone to death
    To make someone sh*t themself/ their pants


    Experience the 2 different types of fear yourself as you watch this video of A SNAKE THAT WILL JUMP AT THE CAMERA AT THE END OF THE VIDEO (sorry to ruin it but I don't want to get banned. Send it to your friends, though ). YouTube - worlds biggest snake

    Now watch a video of a girl watching the snake video. You can she she gets the creeps almost immediately when she sees the size of the snake and then her blood runs cold and she starts to get a bit freaked out when it just keeps going and going. The end definitely scares the sh*t out of her!

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: idioms meaning "to frighten"

    The there's the scary cat attack.
    YouTube - scary cat attack

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    #6

    Re: idioms meaning "to frighten"

    Turtles really freak me out. When I saw one I totally freaked out.

    His new wife is very creepy. She creeps me out.

    When the raccoon jumped out of the cupboard, I was scared sh*tless.

  5. SanMar's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: idioms meaning "to frighten"

    make my skin crawl

    Can mean fear or disgust. If I use it, I generally mean disgust.
    It is a well know idiom but not that popular anymore.

    Not a teacher.

  6. Olenek's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: idioms meaning "to frighten"

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Ben View Post
    There are 2 different types of fear being described here....
    It's very interesting and visual division!

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