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Idioms for being afraid, frightened
Afraid of one’s own shadow.
When someone is so scared they may jump when they think their own shadow is another person.
That movie got me so scared that I was afraid of my own shadow!
These unusual words are used to express a feeling of fear and being uncomfortable.
That movie gave me the heebie-jeebies.
2. Make your blood run cold
Many people say that when they are scared, it makes them feel very cold all of a sudden.
My blood ran cold it scared me so much.
3. Jumped out of my skin!
Have you ever gotten scared so quickly that it felt like your whole body jumped without you even moving?
It was such a fright that I jumped out of my skin!
4. Heart missed a beat
When you become afraid from one moment to the next, it may feel like your heart stopped for a moment.
I got so scared that my heart missed a beat.
5. Scared out of my wits
Having your wits means being in control of yourself. Being scared out of your wits is like saying you lost control of yourself because you were so afraid.
I was scared out of my wits!
6. Scared the living daylights out of me!
This idiom is unique and refers to being so terrified that it may have felt like the lights were turned off suddenly and you were in the dark or dead even.
When you jumped out, it scared the living daylights out of me!
7. Shook like a leaf
Just like a leaf sways in the wind, when frightened many of us shake uncontrollably.
8. Quaking in my boots
Quaking means to start shaking.
It was such a scary situation that I was quaking in my boots!
9. Scared stiff
In some cases people become so afraid that they cannot move, they freeze.
When the bank robbers began to shoot their guns, I was scared stiff and couldn’t run away.
Idioms for scary situations
10. Act of God
When many natural disasters occur, people will use this idiom to describe it as something very powerful.
That earthquake was so intense; it was like an act of God!
11. Batten down the hatches
A hatch is a type of door, to batten down a hatch means to close and lock the door.
When that storm comes tomorrow, we need to have battened down the hatches.
12. Close shave
To have a close shave means to have come very close to having been injured or killed.
That was a close shave! The car missed us by only a few inches.
13. Dicey situation
A dicey situation means something is unpredictable, just like the dice in a game.
He was in such a dicey situation at work; we didn’t know if he was going to survive.
14. Fraught with danger
When a dangerous situation happens, and a person is in the middle of it.
Taking that road is fraught with danger, it is on the side of a cliff and landslides happen frequently.
15. Play with fire
Everyone knows that playing with fire can burn you or cause damage to others. So to play with fire means to do something that could hurt you or another person.
Don’t walk out onto that old bridge, you’re playing with fire because it looks like it could fall at any time.
16. Risk life and limb
To risk life and limb means to do something that is dangerous, whether it is necessary or not.
Firefighters risk life and limb every day to save others.
17. Skating on thin ice
When a person does something that is dangerous or very risky.
She was skating on thin ice when she jumped from one building to the other.
18. Take cover
To take cover means to find shelter or protection from something dangerous.
The people ran to take cover when they heard the sound of gunfire.
19. Take your life into your own hands
When a person does something on purpose that could kill him.
He took his life into his own hands when he tried to swim across that raging river.
Many of these idioms can be used in situations that are not scary, but they must make sense to the listener. Now you know what to say the next time you watch a scary movie. Why not try to practice with your teacher, family, or friends new ways to use these idioms.