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Language tip of the week: to become frightened

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this series of language tips to accompany the Real Vocabulary theme we look at how you can expand your vocabulary in English by using different words and expressions instead of core vocabulary items.

This set of language tips will explore the words and phrases we use to talk about feelings. This week’s tip looks at some verbs and phrases that mean to become frightened:



get scared or become scared:
I got scared and ran away. ♦ After the attack she became scared of the dark.
take fright to suddenly become frightened, especially because something happens suddenly that you did not expect:
The boys took fright and ran off in different directions.
get a fright to suddenly become frightened:
I got such a fright when the fire alarm went off.

panic to suddenly feel very afraid, so that you cannot think clearly or calmly and may do something stupid:
He panicked and fled the country. ♦ They told us not to panic.
There are many colourful phrases that mean that mean to make someone have a physical feeling of being afraid:

make someone’s blood run cold
make someone’s hair stand on end
send shivers down someone’s spine
give someone the creeps

Did you know that Macmillan Dictionary includes a full thesaurus? This page lists more ways to say ‘to become frightened‘.

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Liz Potter

1 Comment

  • That was a good explanation on words and phrases which we use in our daily activities. Macmillan dictionary is a good one and I used it when I was preparing for my english test. I was very poor in reading and writing essays but now after constant study on articles and with the help of online tutors and blogs I am able to write and read competently.

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