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Language tip of the week: to make someone feel 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 make someone feel frightened:



frighten someone to make someone feel afraid, especially suddenly:
Stop it, you’re frightening me. The dog was frightened by the fireworks.
scare someone to make someone feel afraid: scare is more informal than frighten:
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.
give someone a fright/scare:
I didn’t mean to give you a fright. ♦ You gave me such a scare!
startle someone to make someone feel suddenly frightened by doing something they did not expect:
Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. ♦ A plane overhead startled the horse and he bolted.
alarm someone to make someone feel frightened or worried that something unpleasant or dangerous might happen:
I don’t want to alarm you, but I think we may have a serious problem.
intimidate someone to deliberately make someone feel frightened, especially so that they will do what you want:
The report said he used harassment and threats to intimidate journalists.

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

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Liz Potter

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