\ 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

And last year, the Colorado Department of Transportation fell victim to a similar attack that essentially froze hundreds of computers. Michael Balsamo, The Seattle Times, "APNewsBreak: Schumer calls for probe of Chinese rail tech," 20 May 2019 When funding for the DHS lapsed in late December that temporarily froze Coast Guard spending and prevented guard members from being paid. ... Ben Kesling, WSJ, "Coast Guard Says It Took a Hit From Government Shutdown," 21 Mar. 2019 Russians are natural hockey players: Children begin young, playing after school on the ponds and lakes that freeze over during the long winters. Amie Ferris-rotman,, "At home in Russia, Alex Ovechkin brings out both love and resentment," 3 June 2018 In 1974, Israel and Syria reached a cease-fire and a disengagement deal that froze the conflict lines with the plateau in Israeli hands. Zeina Karam And Aron Heller, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Most serious' military conflict between Iran, Israel breaks out in Syria," 10 May 2018 The ordinance was subject to a referendum after the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. spent nearly $700,000 on the petition drive that froze the law’s implementation until voters had the chance to weigh in. Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, "Tax for teacher salaries, ban on flavored tobacco highlight SF ballot," 9 May 2018 Ducks and other waterfowl employ special techniques too to prevent their webbed feet from freezing. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Here's How Birds Stay Warm in the Winter, In Case You Were Wondering," 1 Feb. 2019 Twelve-way adjustable power seats are standard in the front row, and the heated seats and steering wheel are a welcome feature during Chicago winters—the cabin goes from freezing to toasty very quickly. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Love the hardware, hate the UI: The Acura MDX Sport Hybrid," 13 Dec. 2018 North Slope oil companies have for decades imported methanol from around the globe, shipping it by oceangoing tanker and then by truck, to prevent wells and pipelines from freezing. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage startup’s deal with BP sets stage for unusual North Slope plant," 25 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Tip: To freeze the pierogies, boiled as directed, then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze. Roxanne Wyss, kansascity, "For Olathe cook, these pierogies are a holiday treat. But you can make them any time," 4 June 2019 Ragweed comes out in early August and lasts through October, until a good freeze. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Why Louisville is one of the worst places to live with allergies," 25 Feb. 2019 But time and the freeze/thaw cycle took their toll on the 2012 potato’s polymerized concrete skin. Bill Manny, idahostatesman, "New Big Idaho Potato has AC, a mashed-potato interior and cushy digs for Spuddy Buddy," 20 June 2018 In the past year, Californians have lived through a historic drought, a massive wildfire that blotted out the sun, and a strangely warm winter followed by that unseasonable freeze. Nathanael Johnson, WIRED, "Are Avocados Toast?," 24 May 2018 However, the package does add a salary freeze to personnel who fall under the city’s salary ordinance. Yadira Sanchez Olson, Lake County News-Sun, "No layoffs, but underfunded pensions and $1.3 million deficit loom large in North Chicago budget," 6 June 2018 Disclosed late Friday, the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control expanded the trading freeze that had earlier hit bonds of the country’s oil producer to also include debt directly issued by the government. Matt Wirz, WSJ, "Venezuelan Bonds Caught in Fresh U.S. Sanctions Moves," 5 Feb. 2019 The only feasible option, in his opinion, for pets that will still look like your pet is freeze-dry taxidermy, which is essentially giving your pet’s body freezer burn to preserve it, Baratta explains. Jen A. Miller, SELF, "When My Dog Died, I Discovered a Thriving Pet Funeral Industry I Never Knew Existed," 9 Apr. 2019 Last Saturday evening, while another deep polar freeze descended on the midwest forcing icy streets into abandonment, the Palladium in Lafayette Square in St. Louis was alive with art and irreverence. Vogue, "The St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum Hosts its Biennial Dada Ball & Bash," 8 Mar. 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

6 Jun 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

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