Middle English freiht, fright, from Old English (Northumbrian) fryhto, metathesis of Old English fyrhtu "fear, dread, trembling, horrible sight," from Proto-Germanic *furkhtaz "afraid" (source also of Old Saxon forhta, Old Frisian fruchte, Old High German forhta, German Furcht, Gothic faurhtei "fear"). Not etymologically related to the word fear, which superseded it 13c. as the principal word except in cases of sudden terror. For spelling evolution, see fight (v.).
"to frighten," Middle English, from Old English fyrhtan "to terrify, fill with fear," from the source of fright (n.). Old English had also forhtian "be afraid, become full of fear, tremble," but the primary sense of the verb in Middle English was "to make afraid."
updated on March 30, 2022