scare the living daylights out of






frighten the living daylights out of = scare the living 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.


RELATED IDIOMS :


beat the living daylights out of

give someone a very severe beating – informal

Daylight or daylights has been used from the mid 18th century as a metaphor for eyes and here has the extended sense of any vital organ of the body.




burn daylight

use artificial light in daytime

waste daylight




see daylight

begin to understand what was previously puzzling or unclear.




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