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  • IPA(key): /əˈfɹaɪt/
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English afrighten, from Old English āfyrhtan, equivalent to a- +‎ fright.


affright (countable and uncountable, plural affrights)

  1. (archaic) Great fear, terror, fright.
    • 1854, The Mysteries of a Convent, page 107:
      No one for a moment dreamed of the possible occurrence of any thing in the course of a few hours which would fill every mind with horror, and cause even the dark-hearted Martina to tremble with affright.
    • 1885, Richard F. Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 563:
      [] Then behold, there came up to us a huge fish, as big as a tall mountain, at whose sight we became wild for affright and, weeping sore, made ready for death, marvelling at its vast size and gruesome semblance; when lo! a second fish made its appearance than which we had seen naught more monstrous.


affright (third-person singular simple present affrights, present participle affrighting, simple past and past participle affrighted)

  1. (archaic, transitive) To terrify, to frighten, to inspire fright in.
    • c. 1593, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene iii]:
      Let not our babbling dreams affright our souls
    • 1629, John Milton, On the Morning of Christ's Nativity
      A drear and dying sound / Affrights the flamens at their service quaint.
    • 1912, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World[1]:
      "Hence, ladies and gentlemen," he added, "that frightful brood of saurians which still affright our eyes when seen in the Wealden or in the Solenhofen slates, but which were fortunately extinct long before the first appearance of mankind upon this planet."

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English afright, from Old English āfyrht (terrified; afraid), past participle of āfyrhtan (to terrify; make afraid).

Alternative forms[edit]


affright (comparative more affright, superlative most affright)

  1. afraid; terrified; frightened
    • 1641, The Whole Booke of Psalmes:
      So that thou shalt not need I say, to feare or be affright, of all the shafts that Hie by day, nor terrours of the night.
    • 1856, Mrs. S. C. Hall, Popular tales and sketches, page 29:
      “Do not be afright,” he continued, after a pause; “do not be afright, my dear young ladies, I am quite harmless—a harmless old man—I would not shed a pigeon's blood.