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Thread: freak out

  1. #1
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default freak out

    I heard "freak out" in many cases, and a dictionary's definition is "a heightened state of emotions", so it doesn't seem to have any consistent meaning, being variable.
    Is it mostly "scare sb/sth extremely"? or does it depend?

    ex1)The snake really freaked me out(it really scared me)
    ex2)When I saw the test result almost flunked, I freaked out.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: freak out

    I think it means your adrenaline rushes and you have an emotional outburst in which you lose control, at least in part. Like your national parliament's frequent fist-fights. :)

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    Default Re: freak out

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    I heard "freak out" in many cases, and a dictionary's definition is "a heightened state of emotions", so it doesn't seem to have any consistent meaning, being variable.
    You should never make such assumptions on the basis of what one dictionary says. One dictionary is usually enough if you are confirming something that you're pretty sure you already know.
    Besides, 'freak out' is a verb, and a state is a noun.

    Is it mostly "scare sb/sth extremely"? or does it depend? Yes, if used transitively. But it's usually intransitive, as in your example 2.

    ex1)The snake really freaked me out(it really scared me)
    ex2)When I saw the test result almost flunked, I freaked out.
    It means to panic over something.

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    Default Re: freak out

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    I think it means your adrenaline rushes and you have an emotional outburst in which you lose control, at least in part. Like your national parliament's frequent fist-fights. :)
    I also feel it a pity or shame. It's really an underdeveloped form of democracy, so many Korean comedians make satires on those fights and criticize them.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: freak out

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    It means to panic over something.
    I think it means your adrenaline rushes and you have an emotional outburst in which you lose control

    As konungursvia indicated, "freak out" seems to have another meaning of "going crazy", and I remember this explanation shown in a video clip by an English teacher showing her emotional gesture. She said it's like going crazy. I don't know how to make a proper example, but it could be
    "When he heard the news of his girlfriend's death, he freaked out."

    So depending on context, the main meaning can be "scared out(intransitive)", "scare sb(transitive)" and "going crazy" as well, I guess. What do you think?

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    Default Re: freak out

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    I think it means your adrenaline rushes and you have an emotional outburst in which you lose control

    As konungursvia indicated, "freak out" seems to have another meaning of "going crazy", and I remember this explanation shown in a video clip by an English teacher showing her emotional gesture. She said it's like going crazy. I don't know how to make a proper example, but it could be
    "When he heard the news of his girlfriend's death, he freaked out."

    So depending on context, the main meaning can be "scared out(intransitive)", "scare sb(transitive)" and "going crazy" as well, I guess. What do you think?
    What does "scared out" mean to you? I have never heard or seen it used to mean the same as "freaked out". Is it used this way?

    "Freak out" may be used to describe a range of emotions. Someone is freaking out, when they're acting extremely emotionally, often in a strange way:

    guy freaks out in coffee shop - YouTube

    It may be because of anger (Office Freakout - YouTube), drug use (Jessie Spano Caffeine Pill Freakout! - YouTube), joy (Christmas gift freak out - YouTube), anxiety ((?)David Fisher freaking out - YouTube) and other things.

    You're also freaking out when you're just scared or very anxious:

    We had to find our way back in the dark and only armed with one headlamp for light. I was freaking out in the dark and it was a long climb backů
    (Gunung Tahan ╗ Ultra Cool Mama)

    it may not seem like such a big deal that i'm going to spain for 5 weeks, but i'm freaking out. can't we just surpass all the trip anxiety and already be there?
    (fascination street: 12/22/2002 - 12/29/2002)

    You freak someone out when you scare them:

    "Kyle!" she cried when he collapsed, and she knelt beside him and yelled moderately loudly: "Stop doing this! It's freaking me out!! What's wrong?"
    (Sacred Keys: A Kingdom Hearts "After Sora's Life" Roleplay | Page 16 | Level 1 - Beginners RPs | Guild Forums | Gaia Online)

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    Default Re: freak out

    In AmE, "freak out" has many meanings that runs the full spectrum of emotions from life-or-death fear to momentary private panic to many feelings in between. Sometimes a freak-out is a reaction to a scary situation, sometimes it's an unbridled release of joy.

    Examples:

    "Everyone in the office freaked out when the tornado siren went off and we all rushed to the basement."

    "I freaked out when the boss called me into his office because I thought I was going to be fired. As it turned out, he didn't even mention the fact that I'd been late four times that week; he just asked if I'd be willing to buy a birthday present for his wife during my lunch hour."

    "My friend totally freaked out when Justin Bieber reached out from the stage and touched her hand!"

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    Default Re: freak out

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    I think it means your adrenaline rushes and you have an emotional outburst in which you lose control

    And what happens when you panic? (Hint: your adrenaline rushes and you have an emotional outburst in which you lose control - among other things).


    As konungursvia indicated, "freak out" seems to have another meaning of "going crazy", and I remember this explanation shown in a video clip by an English teacher showing her emotional gesture. She said it's like going crazy. I don't know how to make a proper example, but it could be
    "When he heard the news of his girlfriend's death, he freaked out."

    So depending on context, the main meaning can be "scared out(intransitive)", "scare sb(transitive)" and "going crazy" as well, I guess. What do you think?
    I think that "freak out", being slang, is subject to a lot of change, as Ouisch says.
    But there's little point in defining "freaking out" as "going crazy" unless it's commonly understood what "going crazy" means.
    To me, as a medical person, "going crazy" means displaying psychotic symptoms, as occurs in schizophrenia - losing contact with reality. This is not "freaking out" to me. But I'm sure some people would use the two terms as synonyms.

    So, to know what it means, you'll have to understand who used it (how old they are, what subculture they're from, etc) and in what context it's used.
    Speaking of context, you gave two examples. In neither of them does "freak out" seem to mean "express on overwhelming sense of joy." It would never have occurred to me to describe the little girl's excitement at her presents as "freaking out". "joy (Christmas gift freak out - YouTube)". I might say that she "goes pycho".

    I guess that, like any slang term, if the speaker and the hearer believe it means a certain thing, then for the purposes of that communication, it does.
    Last edited by Raymott; 28-Dec-2011 at 10:59.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: freak out

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I think that "freak out", being slang, is subject to a lot of change, as Ouisch says.
    But there's little point in defining "freaking out" as "going crazy" unless it's commonly understood what "going crazy" means.
    To me, as a medical person, "going crazy" means displaying psychotic symptoms, as occurs in schizophrenia - losing contact with reality. This is not "freaking out" to me. But I'm sure some people would use the two terms as synonyms.

    So, to know what it means, you'll have to understand who used it (how old they are, what subculture they're from, etc) and in what context it's used.
    Speaking of context, you gave two examples. In neither of them does "freak out" seem to mean "express on overwhelming sense of joy." It would never have occurred to me to describe the little girl's excitement at her presents as "freaking out". "joy (Christmas gift freak out - YouTube)". I might say that she "goes pycho".

    I guess that, like any slang term, if the speaker and the hearer believe it means a certain thing, then for the purposes of that communication, it does.
    I'm sorry I chose the wrong term, I was pretty much used to the korean definition of "going crazy" which sometimes means not "psychologically going out of mind" but "reaching the highest agitation or something". That's what I meant by "going crazy", so I think probably "agitation" is more similar to "freak out", but as you said the meaning varies depends on context, it would be just part of the whole meanings.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: freak out

    Basically it's a very strong, but temporary, expression of emotion. It carries no sense of permanently going mad.

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