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Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English frightful ‎(afraid), from Old English forhtful ‎(fainthearted, timorous), equivalent to fright +‎ -ful.


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frightful ‎(comparative more frightful, superlative most frightful)

  1. (obsolete): Full of fright; affrighted; frightened.
    • 1613, William Browne, Britannia's Pastorals:
      See how the frightful herds run from the wood.
  2. Full of that which causes fright; exciting alarm; impressing terror; shocking; as, a frightful chasm, or tempest; a frightful appearance.
  3. Used as an intensifier
    We wasted a frightful amount of money on renovations.



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