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20 Ways to Talk About Being Scared


Whether we love or hate being scared, Halloween is here again. Here are 20 ways of expressing fear:

  1. afraid of your own shadow – nervous/timid/easily frightened
    For a long time after he was rescued, the cat was afraid of his own shadow.

  2. shaking like a leaf – to tremble with fear
    He was shaking like a leaf when he first stepped onto the stage, but by the end of the performance he was standing tall and smiling.

  3. quaking in your boots – trembling with fear
    The thought of watching a horror film left him quaking in his boots.

  4. heebie jeebies – a state of fear/discomfort/nervousness
    Moths gave her the heebie-jeebies.

  5. scared out of one’s wits – extremely frightened
    ‘I was scared out of my wits when I heard screaming, but it was just some children playing.’

  6. scared stiff – extremely frightened
    He was scared stiff of spiders.

  7. to break out in a cold sweat – to sweat due to fear or anxiety
    The thought of his presentation made him break out in cold sweat.

  8. to freak out – to act in a dramatic manner due to fear or excitement/to frighten someone
    ‘You’re really freaking me out!’ he screamed while his friend was telling ghost stories

  9. to get the jitters – to feel very nervous
    ‘Exams give me the jitters,’ she admitted to her teacher.

  10. to jump out of one’s skin – to be startled
    ‘When the vampire appeared, I jumped out of my skin!’ she said after the film.

  11. to make someone’s blood run cold – to horrify someone
    ‘Every time I hear the ‘Jaws’ soundtrack, my blood runs cold.’

  12. to scare the living daylights out of – to severely frighten
    Stephen King novels scared the living daylights out of her, but she still loved reading them.

  13. to strike fear into the hearts of – to cause someone/a group of people to become very frightened
    The news about the escaped convict struck fear into the hearts of local residents.

  14. to whistle in the dark – to pretend to be unafraid
    Anyone who says they liked the film is just whistling in the dark.

  15. shivers down one’s spine – an eerie/frightened feeling
    The silence in the house sent shivers down his spine.

  16. goosebumps – small bumps on the surface of the skin caused by cold or fear
    ‘I had goosebumps all the way through the film, but I couldn’t stop watching.’

  17. to scare the hell out of – to frighten someone
    ‘You scared the hell out of me!’ he shouted.

  18. to make someone’s hair stand on end – to alarm or frighten someone
    The sound of crying made her hair stand on end.

  19. to chicken out – to opt out of doing something due to being frightened
    ‘I really wanted to go on the rollercoaster but in the end, I chickened out.’

  20. to look as white as a ghost/like you have seen a ghost – to look pale due to shock or fear
    ‘You look like you’ve seen a ghost,’ he told his mum.

Happy Halloween!


31 Oct 2018
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