Of weather, "be cold enough to freeze," 13c. Meaning "perish from cold" is c. 1300. Transitive sense "harden into ice, congeal as if by frost" first recorded late 14c.; figurative sense late 14c., "make hard or unfeeling." Intransitive meaning "become rigid or motionless" attested by 1720. Sense of "fix at a certain level" is from 1933; of assets, "make non-transactable," from 1922. Freeze frame is from 1960, originally "a briefly Frozen Shot after the Jingle to allow ample time for Change over at the end of a T.V. 'Commercial.' " ["ABC of Film & TV," 1960].
Old English forst, frost "frost, a freezing, frozen precipitation, extreme cold," from Proto-Germanic *frustaz "frost" (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German frost, Middle Dutch and Dutch vorst), from the verb *freusanan "to freeze" (source of Old English freosan "to freeze"), from suffixed form of PIE *preus- "to freeze; burn" (see freeze (v.)). Both forms of the word were common in English till late 15c.; the triumph of frost may be due to its similarity to the forms in other Germanic languages. A black frost (late 14c.) is one which kills plants (turns them black) but is not accompanied by visible frozen dew.