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See also: Freak


Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

1560, "sudden change of mind, whim", of uncertain origin. Probably from a dialectal word related to Middle English frekynge (capricious behaviour; whims) and Middle English friken, frikien (to move briskly or nimbly), from Old English frician (to leap, dance), or Middle English frek (insolent, daring), from Old English frec (desirous, greedy, eager, bold, daring), from Proto-West Germanic *frek, from Proto-Germanic *frekaz, *frakaz (hard, efficient, greedy, bold, audacious) (in which case, it would be related to the noun under Etymology 2). Compare Old High German freh (eager), Old English frēcne (dangerous).


  • enPR: frēk, IPA(key): /fɹiːk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːk


freak (plural freaks)

  1. (dated) A sudden change of mind
    Synonyms: whim, vagary, caprice, fancy; see also Thesaurus:whim
    • 1724, Jonathan Swift, On a Pen:
      And then, with heart more hard than stone,
      He pick'd my marrow from the bone.
      To vex me more, he took a freak
      To slit my tongue and make me speak:
      But, that which wonderful appears,
      I speak to eyes, and not to ears.
    • 1815, Jane Austen, chapter 17, in Emma, volume III:
      It would be a great comfort to Mr. Weston, as he grew older—and even Mr. Weston might be growing older ten years hence—to have his fireside enlivened by the sports and the nonsense, the freaks and the fancies of a child never banished from home;
  2. (dated) Someone or something that is markedly unusual or unpredictable.
    Synonyms: anomaly, outlier; see also Thesaurus:anomaly
    • 1848 November – 1850 December, William Makepeace Thackeray, chapter 19, in The History of Pendennis. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I or II), London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1849–1850, →OCLC:
      [H]aving a dinner-party at his rooms to entertain some friends from London, nothing would satisfy Mr. Foker but painting Mr. Buck’s door vermilion, in which freak he was caught by the proctors …
    • 1907, Jack London, Before Adam, page 8:
      And I may answer with another question. Why is a two-headed calf? And my own answer to this is that it is a freak.
    • 1920, Onnie Warren Smith, Casting tackle and methods, page 67:
      There may be good points about a freak reel, but because it is a freak it will stand little show of even a fair try-out
    • 1938, Marian E. Baer, The wonders of water:
      It is a freak that people talk about when they see it. Not everyone calls it by the right name, and few people know how it gets to be what it is. This freak is hail.
  3. A hippie.
    Synonyms: longhair, tree hugger
    • [1969, Paul A. Eschholz, “Freak compounds for 'argot freaks'”, in American Speech, volume 44, number 4, →DOI, pages 306–307:
      When long-haired, outlandishly dressed, drug-using hippies pilgrimaged to Haight-Ashbury in the early 1960s, they were quickly dubbed freaks; the pejorative appellation was both obvious and intended. It was not long before freak had become practically synonymous with hippie. It seems, however, that with the acceptance of long hair, the appearance and popularity of some rather bizarre fashions, and the emphasis placed upon "doing one's own thing," freak is no longer burdened with all of its former derogatory associations. Instead [] the word is beginning to acquire a quality which is favorable, glamorous, and somehow even admirable.]
  4. A drug addict.
    Synonyms: druggie, user; see also Thesaurus:addict
    • [1969, Paul A. Eschholz, “Freak compounds for "argot freaks"”, in American Speech, volume 44, number 4, →DOI, pages 306–307:
      Smith and Sturges [June 1969] note in their study of the San Francisco drug scene that freak means "anyone addicted to drugs."]
  5. A person who is extremely abnormal in appearance due to a severe medical condition (originally, a freak of nature); later extended to meaning a person who is extremely abnormal in social behavior, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or business practices; an oddball, especially in physiology (e.g., "circus freak"); a unique person, originally in a displeasing or alienating way.
    Synonyms: odd duck, weirdo; see also Thesaurus:strange person, Thesaurus:maverick
    • 2014, Inga Muscio, Autobiography of a Blue-eyed Devil:
      Gentrification often starts with the artists, revolutionaries, freaks, transfolks, and queers (what I would call my people) moving into poor neighborhoods inhabited by people of color.
  6. (bodybuilding) A person whose physique has grown far beyond the normal limits of muscular development; often a bodybuilder weighing more than 260 pounds (117.934 kilos).
  7. An enthusiast, or person who has an obsession with, or extreme knowledge of, something.
    Synonyms: fanatic, geek; see also Thesaurus:fan
    Bob's a real video-game freak. He owns every games console of the last ten years.
    • [1968, Fred Davis with Laura Munoz, “Heads and freaks: patterns and meanings of drug use among hippies”, in Journal of Health and Social Behavior, volume 9, number 2, →DOI, pages 156–164:
      Anyone [] who seems "hung up" on some idea, activity or interactional disposition, might be called a "freak."]
    • [1969, Paul A. Eschholz, “Freak compounds for "argot freaks"”, in American Speech, volume 44, number 4, →DOI, pages 306–307:
      Presently [] college students [] use freak to denote any kind of enthusiast.]
  8. (informal, sometimes endearing) A very sexually perverse individual.
    Synonyms: horn dog, hypersexual, pervert; see also Thesaurus:libidinist
    She's a freak in the sack!
  9. (dated) A streak of colour; variegation.
    Synonyms: (birds) superciliary, vein
  10. Euphemistic form of fuck.
    • 2011 February 9, Silianise Moise, Life Is Not a Fairy Tale, but . . ., Xlibris Corporation, →ISBN, page 145:
      So why am I grieving over someone who doesn't even give a freak about me? These vindictive ideas flowed through my head. A part of me wanted to carve my name into his little Saturn leather seats, but I remembered they weren't leather.
    • 2014 February 4, John Nicholas Iannuzzi, Condemned: A Novel, Open Road Media, →ISBN:
      They hear you, not out in the car, but when you practically say it to their face, they could make things hard for you, just to get back at you. You never know.” “Hey, Flor, not for nothin', but I don't give a freak about them guys or []
    • 2020 December 23, Raven Steele, A Monster's Birth, Raven Steele:
      Because I've seen the vampires up there, and they don't give a freak about anyone or anything. Tell me you are different." "I am trying to be. The urges are hard to overcome, but, I assure you, you're safe with me.
Derived terms[edit]


freak (third-person singular simple present freaks, present participle freaking, simple past and past participle freaked)

  1. (intransitive, slang) To react extremely or irrationally, usually under distress or discomposure.
    • 1968, Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Bantam, published 1997, →ISBN, page 240:
      When the owner found a bunch of beatniks in there, he freaked, but that was later.
    • 1994, James Earl Hardy, B-Boy Blues: A Seriously Sexy, Fiercely Funny, Black-On-Black Love Story, Alyson Publishing, page 107:
      But after one night turned into five days, I was freaking out. I missed him.
  2. (slang, transitive, intransitive) To be placed or place someone under the influence of a psychedelic drug, (especially) to experience reality withdrawal, or hallucinations (nightmarish), to behave irrational or unconventional due to drug use.
  3. (transitive, dated) To streak; to variegate
    • 1726, James Thomson, “Winter”, in The Seasons, London: [] A[ndrew] Millar, and sold by Thomas Cadell, [], published 1768, →OCLC:
      Freakt with many a mingled hue.
    • 1930, Robert Seymour Bridges, The Testament of Beauty: A Poem in Four Books, Literary Criticism, page 20:
      [] in fine diaper of silver and mother-of-pearl freaking the intense azure; Now scurrying close overhead, wild ink-hued random racers that fling sheeted []
Derived terms[edit]


freak (not comparable)

  1. Strange, weird, unexpected.
    Synonyms: freakish; see also Thesaurus:strange, Thesaurus:lucky
    a freak genius
    • 2011 April 15, Saj Chowdhury, “Norwich 2 - 1 Nott'm Forest”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      A freak goal gave Forest the lead when a clearance by keeper John Ruddy bounced off Nathan Tyson and flew in.
Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English freke, freike (a bold man, warrior, man, creature), from Old English freca (a bold man, warrior, hero), from Proto-Germanic *frekô (an active or eager man, warrior, wolf), from *frekaz (active, bold, desirous, greedy), from Proto-Indo-European *pereg-, *spereg- (to shrug, be quick, twitch, splash, blast).

Cognate with Old Norse freki (greedy or avaricious one, a wolf), Old High German freh (eager), German frech, Old English frēcne (dangerous, daring, courageous, bold).



freak (plural freaks)

  1. A man, particularly a bold, strong, vigorous man.
  2. (UK dialectal, Scotland) A fellow; a petulant young man.




Borrowed from English freak.


  • IPA(key): /frik/, /friːk/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: freak
  • Rhymes: -ik


freak m (plural freaks, diminutive freakje n)

  1. freak (oddball)
  2. freak (dedicated fan)