\ ˈfrēz How to pronounce freeze (audio) \
froze\ ˈfrōz How to pronounce froze (audio) \; frozen\ ˈfrō-​zᵊn How to pronounce frozen (audio) \; freezing

Definition of freeze

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to become congealed into ice by cold
b : to solidify as a result of abstraction of heat
c : to withstand freezing the bread freezes well
2 : to become chilled with cold almost froze to death
3 : to adhere solidly by or as if by freezing pressure caused the metals to freeze
4 : to become fixed or motionless especially : to become incapable of acting or speaking
5 : to become clogged with ice the water pipes froze

transitive verb

1a : to harden into ice
b : to convert from a liquid to a solid by cold
2 : to make extremely cold : chill
3a : to act on usually destructively by frost
b : to anesthetize by cold
4 : to cause to grip tightly or remain in immovable contact
5a : to cause to become fixed, immovable, unavailable, or unalterable freeze interest rates
b : to immobilize by governmental regulation the expenditure, withdrawal, or exchange of freeze foreign assets
c : to render motionless a fake froze the defender
6 : to attempt to retain continuous possession of (a ball or puck) without an attempt to score usually in order to protect a small lead



Definition of freeze (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an act or instance of freezing
b : the state of being frozen
2 : a state of weather marked by low temperature especially when below the freezing point
3 : a halt in the production, testing, and deployment of military weapons a nuclear freeze

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Synonyms & Antonyms for freeze

Synonyms: Verb

concrete, congeal, firm (up), harden, indurate, set, solidify

Synonyms: Noun

cold, cold wave, deep freeze, snap

Antonyms: Verb

liquefy (also liquify), soften

Antonyms: Noun

heat, heat wave

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Examples of freeze in a Sentence


The children are going to freeze out there without their coats. The cold weather froze the water pipes.


The freeze destroyed many oranges. the Midwest will experience an intense freeze later in the week
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The ice froze through the fall and winter, shedding very cold, very briny seawater that -- due to its density -- would sink and eventually form a frigid layer down deep. Anchorage Daily News, "As Bering Sea ice melts, Alaskans, scientists and Seattle’s fishing fleet witness changes ‘on a massive scale’," 17 Sep. 2019 Perhaps one way of understanding The Topeka School is as a meditation on how the snow of whiteness can calcify and harden, freeze, into an icy weapon. Christine Smallwood, Harper's magazine, "Novel, Essay, Poem," 16 Sep. 2019 If the app freezes, try to restart the app and relaunch it. Time, "FAQ: How to Use TIME's 'Inside the Amazon: The Dying Forest'," 12 Sep. 2019 At the border, Elhady was surrounded by Customs and Border Protection officers, handcuffed, and then put in a freezing cold cell for more than 10 hours without shoes or a jacket, a lawsuit alleges. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Muslims hope judge's ruling against terror watch list ends harassment by feds," 9 Sep. 2019 If Ecarma required players to practice outdoors at temperatures near the freezing mark, how many football coaches would be found guilty of similar conduct each November? Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville pays ex-men's tennis coach rather than follow its Pitino playbook," 19 Aug. 2019 Based on these measurements, Kreidberg’s team estimated the temperature of the planet’s nightside as a freezing –273 degrees Celsius and that of its days as a fiery 767 degrees C. Adam Mann, Scientific American, "Scientists Mull the Astrobiological Implications of an Airless Alien Planet," 19 Aug. 2019 Lucy was friendly but afraid, and looked as if she’d been exposed for days to the near-freezing weather, police said. Evan Macdonald,, "Willoughby couple plead guilty to abandoning injured dog in near-freezing temperatures," 3 Aug. 2019 The whole tube of gel will slowly freeze, starting at the cold end. Natalie R. Rubio, The Conversation, "So far cultured meat has been burgers – the next big challenge is animal-free steaks," 5 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Budget director Susie Park says the hiring freeze is just one part of a broad approach the city must take to restore its finances. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Chicago mayor institutes hiring free ahead of budget address," 23 Aug. 2019 The bill would make numerous changes, including seeking a 10-year freeze on toll rates and developing a rebate program for Miami-Dade motorists who use the SunPass tolling system. Jim Turner,, "Florida law abolishing Miami-Dade toll road authority is unconstitutional, judge rules," 9 Aug. 2019 The situation has deteriorated further since Bolsonaro took office: in March, his administration announced a freeze on 42% of the budget for the ministry of science and communications, leaving it with just 2.9 billion reais for the rest of the year. Jeff Tollefson, Scientific American, "Populist President Sparks Unprecedented Crisis for Brazilian Science," 3 Aug. 2019 Security experts note that a freeze is much more effective than a fraud alert. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Have a Capital One credit card? Then take these 5 steps," 30 July 2019 The tuition freeze is very popular with the public. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Republican lawmakers seek path to ending UW tuition freeze by proposing inflationary increases," 24 July 2019 Moreover, a hiring freeze has been in effect for some time, resulting in 100 positions going unfilled, Brister said. Robert Rhoden,, "St. Tammany citizens group opposes tax renewals for courthouse, jail," 16 Feb. 2018 The final regulation will modestly boost fuel efficiency over the preferred option’s freeze of 2020 requirements but be far less than the Obama rules, Reuters reported on Thursday. Reuters, The Mercury News, "US launches antitrust probe of automakers’ deal with California," 6 Sep. 2019 The free-agent freeze of last season caused a slew of contract extensions in the spring, but there are still a sizable share of players set to enter free agency in 2020. Michael Shapiro,, "Four Soon-to-Be MLB Free Agents Whose Stocks Are Sinking," 21 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'freeze.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of freeze


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for freeze


Middle English fresen, from Old English frēosan; akin to Old High German friosan to freeze, Latin pruina hoarfrost, Old English frost frost

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Statistics for freeze

Last Updated

10 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for freeze

The first known use of freeze was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for freeze



English Language Learners Definition of freeze

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to become a hard substance (such as ice) because of cold
: to be very cold
: to become blocked or unable to move because of ice



English Language Learners Definition of freeze (Entry 2 of 2)

: a period in which the weather is very cold : a time when temperatures are below 32°F or 0°C
: a stop in the increase, decrease, or change of prices or wages


\ ˈfrēz How to pronounce freeze (audio) \
froze\ ˈfrōz \; frozen\ ˈfrō-​zᵊn \; freezing

Kids Definition of freeze

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to harden into or be hardened into a solid (as ice) by loss of heat freeze blueberries The river froze over.
2 : to be uncomfortably cold It's freezing in here. I'm frozen.
3 : to damage by cold The plants were frozen by heavy frost.
4 : to clog or become clogged by ice Water pipes froze overnight.
5 : to become completely still I was so startled, I froze.



Kids Definition of freeze (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a period of freezing weather : cold weather
2 : the state of being frozen in a deep freeze


\ ˈfrēz How to pronounce freeze (audio) \
froze\ ˈfrōz How to pronounce froze (audio) \; frozen\ ˈfrōz-​ᵊn How to pronounce frozen (audio) \; freezing

Medical Definition of freeze

intransitive verb

1 : to become hardened into a solid (as ice) by loss of heat
2a : to become chilled with cold almost froze to death
b : to anesthetize a part especially by cold

transitive verb

1 : to cause to harden into a solid (as ice) by loss of heat
2 : to make extremely cold : chill
3a : to act on usually destructively by frost
b : to anesthetize by cold

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froze; frozen; freezing

Legal Definition of freeze

1 : to cause to become fixed, immovable, unavailable, or unalterable freeze interest rates
2 : to immobilize (as by government regulation or the action of a financial institution) the expenditure, withdrawal, or exchange of freeze foreign assets
3 : to restructure (the capital of a close corporation) so that the value is reflected mostly in preferred stock rather than common stock

Note: Once capital is frozen, the common shares can be transferred to the heirs of the owner without taxation while the owner continues to enjoy the income from preferred stock dividends during his or her lifetime.

Other Words from freeze

freeze noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on freeze

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with freeze

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for freeze

Spanish Central: Translation of freeze

Nglish: Translation of freeze for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of freeze for Arabic Speakers

Comments on freeze

What made you want to look up freeze? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


involving a confidence or trust

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