Word of the Day: freak

 
 
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Word Reference
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Word of the Day
 
November 5, 2015
 
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freak (noun, verb, adjective) sound LISTEN icon
 
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As a noun, freak means "a very strange person, animal, or thing." It can also be a person with an irrational obsession, or someone who behaves unusually. As an adjective, it means "strange, odd or rare." As a verb, it means both "to become and to make someone nervous or excited," or "to lose control." In this sense, it's most commonly part of the phrasal verb "freak out."
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Example sentences
 
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A freak rainstorm hit the town last weekend.
 
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Rosa is a tennis freak. She would never miss a match.
 
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Martin doesn't like chocolate? What a freak!
 
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When Jake's girlfriend sent him a text to break up with him, he completely freaked and threw the phone out the window.
 
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I can't believe I'm going to be captain of our school's soccer team! I'm freaking out here!
 
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Multi-word forms
 

freak accident (noun): An accident that occurs because of a strange or unusual set of circumstances.

freak show (noun): This used to be part of a circus where people with deformities were displayed. Now the term is sometimes used informally, especially by young people, to suggest that someone's behavior is unusual enough to be disturbing.

control freak (noun): A person who is obsessed with being in control of everything.

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Did you know?
 
As a phrasal verb without an object, "freak out" means to behave in a very emotional way, but it can refer to almost any strong emotion. Normally it is clear from the context: "When I was late this morning, my boss completely freaked out and yelled at me in front of my colleagues." "Bella freaked out when she realized she had won the lottery." As a phrasal verb with an object, "freak out" means to scare or upset someone: "Harry liked to freak his sister out by putting spiders in her bed." 
 
Other forms
 
freaky (adjective), freakish (adjective), freakishly (adverb)
Origin
 
Freak dates from the mid-sixteenth century and probably comes from the Old English word "frīcian," meaning "to dance."
 
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