verbfroze, fro·zen, freez·ing, freez·es
a. To pass from the liquid to the solid state by loss of heat.
b. To acquire a surface or coat of ice from cold: The lake froze over in January. Bridges freeze before the adjacent roads.
- To become clogged or jammed because of the formation of ice: The pipes froze in the basement.
- To be at that degree of temperature at which ice forms: It may freeze tonight.
- To be killed or harmed by cold or frost: They almost froze to death. Mulch keeps garden plants from freezing.
- To be or feel uncomfortably cold: Aren't you freezing without a coat?
a. To become fixed, stuck, or attached by or as if by frost: The lock froze up with rust.
b. To stop functioning properly, usually temporarily: My computer screen froze when I opened the infected program.
a. To become motionless or immobile, as from surprise or attentiveness: I heard a sound and froze in my tracks.
b. To become unable to act or speak, as from fear: froze in front of the audience.
- To become rigid and inflexible; solidify: an opinion that froze into dogma.
a. To convert into ice.
b. To cause ice to form upon.
c. To cause to congeal or stiffen from extreme cold: winter cold that froze the ground.
- To preserve (foods, for example) by subjecting to freezing temperatures.
- To damage, kill, or make inoperative by cold or by the formation of ice.
- To make very cold; chill.
- To immobilize, as with fear or shock.
- To chill with an icy or formal manner: froze me with one look.
- To stop the motion or progress of: The negotiations were frozen by the refusal of either side to compromise; froze the video in order to discuss the composition of the frame.
a. To fix (prices or wages, for example) at a given or current level.
b. To prohibit further manufacture or use of.
c. To prevent or restrict the exchange, withdrawal, liquidation, or granting of by governmental action: freeze investment loans during a depression; froze foreign assets held by US banks.
- To anesthetize by chilling.
- Sports To keep possession of (a ball or puck) so as to deny an opponent the opportunity to score.
Phrasal Verbs: freeze out
a. The act of freezing.
b. The state of being frozen.
- A spell of cold weather; a frost.
- A restriction that forbids a quantity from rising above a given or current level: a freeze on city jobs; a proposed freeze on the production of nuclear weapons.
To shut out or exclude, as by cold or unfriendly treatment: The others tried to freeze me out of the conversation.
Origin of freeze
Middle English fresen from
Old English frēosan
; see preus-
in Indo-European roots.
Related Forms:Word History:
Describing the landscape of Hell in Book II of Paradise Lost,
Milton depicts “a frozen Continent … beat with perpetual storms … the parching Air Burns frore, and cold performs th' effect of Fire.” It is evident from these lines that frore
has some relationship to frozen,
but what exactly is it? The Modern English paradigm for the verb freeze
is freeze, froze, frozen,
with a z
throughout. However, in Old English, the principal parts were frēosan, frēas, froren.
in the past participle froren
is from a prehistoric s
that became r
by Verner's Law, a sound shift that changed s
in certain positions into r.
(The effects of Verner's Law can also be seen in such Modern English pairs as was
) During the Middle English period, a new past participle frosen
was created using the s
from the first two principal parts; this survives as frozen
nowadays. The older participle, spelled froren
in Middle English, lived on as a poetic word for “cold,” but well before Milton's day it had become archaic in the standard language.
(third-person singular simple present freezes, present participle freezing, simple past froze or rarely frore, past participle frozen or rarely froren)
- (intransitive) Especially of a liquid, to become solid due to low temperature.
- To lower something's temperature to the point that it freezes or becomes hard.
- Don't freeze meat twice.
- (intransitive) To drop to a temperature below zero degrees celsius, where water turns to ice.
- It didn't freeze this winter, but last winter was very harsh.
- (intransitive, informal) To be affected by extreme cold.
- It's freezing in here!
- Don't go outside wearing just a t-shirt; you'll freeze!
- (intransitive) To become motionless.
- (figuratively) To lose or cause to lose warmth of feeling; to shut out; to ostracize.
- Over time, he froze towards her, and ceased to react to her friendly advances.
- To cause loss of animation or life in, from lack of heat; to give the sensation of cold to; to chill.
- To prevent the movement or liquidation of a person's financial assets
- The court froze the criminal's bank account
From Middle English fresen, from Old English frēosan (“to freeze”), from Proto-Germanic *freusaną (“to frost, freeze”), from Proto-Indo-European *prews- (“to frost, freeze”). Cognate with Scots frese (“to freeze”), West Frisian frieze (“to freeze”), Dutch vriezen (“to freeze”), Low German freren, freern, fresen (“to freeze”), German frieren (“to freeze”), Swedish frysa (“to freeze”), Latin pruīna (“hoarfrost”), Welsh (Northern) rhew (“frost, ice”), and Sanskrit प्रुष्व (pruṣvá, “water drop, frost”).
- A period of intensely cold weather.
- A halt of a regular operation.
- (computing) The state when either a single computer program, or the whole system ceases to respond to inputs.
- (curling) A precise draw weight shot where a delivered stone comes to a stand-still against a stationary stone, making it nearly impossible to knock out.
- (specifically, in finance) A block on pay rises.
See the above verb.
- Obsolete form of frieze.