"freezing conditions," c. 1400, from freeze (v.).
alteration of freese, friese, from Middle English fresen, from Old English freosan (intransitive) "turn to ice" (class II strong verb; past tense freas, past participle froren), from Proto-Germanic *freusan "to freeze" (source also of Dutch vriezen, Old Norse frjosa, Old High German friosan, German frieren "to freeze," and related to Gothic frius "frost"), from Proto-Germanic *freus-, equivalent to PIE root *preus- "to freeze," also "to burn" (source also of Sanskrit prusva, Latin pruina "hoarfrost," Welsh rhew "frost," Sanskrit prustah "burnt," Albanian prus "burning coals," Latin pruna "a live coal").
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].
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