put the frighteners on
threaten or intimidate - British informal
Literally a frightener is a thug who intimidates victims on behalf of a gang.
1998 - John Milne - Alive & Kicking - She decides to put the frighteners on him by hiring me as a private detective.
RELATED IDIOMS :
frighten the daylights out of
give someone a very severe fright
This expression was a mid 20th-century development from beat the living daylights out of on the premise that the effect of extreme fear is as drastic as physical violence.
1955 - Frank Yerby - The Treasure of Pleasant Valley - Didn't mean to hit him. Meant to throw close to him and scare the living daylights out of him.
frighten the life out of
frightened of your own shadow
be unreasonably timid or nervous
be frightened out of your wits
be extremely frightened
be frightened to death
be made very alarmed and fearful - informal
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