1. Sudden intense fear, as of something immediately threatening. See Synonyms at fear.
2. Informal Something extremely unsightly, alarming, or strange: Brush your hair; you look a fright.
tr.v. fright·ed, fright·ing, frights
[Middle English, from Old English fyrhto, fryhto. V., from Middle English frighten, to frighten, be afraid, from Old English fyrhtan.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.