Idioms for being Afraid, Frightened and idioms to describe Scary situations?


Have you ever wanted to use a phrase to express that you are scared or frightened? Maybe you even want to describe a scary situation using an idiom? Here is a list of different idioms you can use to do this. Have fun reading them and learning new, fun ways of expressing yourself.

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! 

1. Heebie-jeebies

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.

CHICKEN OUT idiom meaning

CHICKEN OUT idiom meaning
CHICKEN OUT idiom meaning
  • My blood ran cold it scared me so much. 

3. Jumped out of my sskinkin!

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!

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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! 

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7. Shook like a leaf

Just like a leaf sways in the wind, when frightened many of us shake uncontrollably.

  • Before getting onto the ride, I shook like a leaf. 

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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.  

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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.

If you like this list of idioms, leave us a comment below. Why not check out our other great articles on the website too!

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Takele Tadesse Leta
4 years ago

I would like to say “Thank You!”

1 year ago

this was super helpful!

1 year ago

Thanks! this was really helpful 😀

Anastasia Koltai
Reply to  Megan
1 year ago

Thank you Megan!

Sazid Hasan Safwan
Sazid Hasan Safwan
2 years ago

very helpful

Reply to  Sazid Hasan Safwan
1 year ago


Reply to  Sazid Hasan Safwan
1 month ago


Giorge Leedy
1 year ago

Nice scary list. Researching in preparation of writing my next motivational book.

Anastasia Koltai
Reply to  Giorge Leedy
1 year ago

Thank you and good luck!