fright·​en·​ing ˈfrī-tᵊn-iŋ How to pronounce frightening (audio)
: causing fear
frightening news
a very frightening experience
The man with red eyes made the frightening grimace that passed for his smile.Madeleine L'Engle
For a man who had tussled with crocs, venomous snakes and other frightening creatures, this was going to be a leisurely swim.Jennifer Wulff et al.

Examples of frightening in a Sentence

a truly frightening movie
Recent Examples on the Web What is known already about hydrilla, an invasive aquatic weed from Eurasia, is frightening. Edmund H. Mahony, Hartford Courant, 8 July 2024 New Year’s revelry was frightening his family the same way Independence Day festivities had. Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, 4 July 2024 While Fourth of July traditions are fun for humans, some can be frightening and overstimulating for dogs and cats. Skyler Caruso, Peoplemag, 3 July 2024 Images of the massive stockpile scattered on 23 acres, along with the frightening revelation of chemical plant dumping in New York’s Love Canal, led Congress in 1980 to pass the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, commonly known as Superfund. James Bruggers, The Courier-Journal, 1 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for frightening 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'frightening.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from present participle of frighten

First Known Use

1652, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of frightening was in 1652

Dictionary Entries Near frightening

Cite this Entry

“Frightening.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on frightening

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