Green’s Dictionary of Slang

scare v.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

— could scare flies off a shit wagon (v.)

used of a notably unattractive individual.

[Ire]‘Ross O'Carroll-Kelly’ Rhino What You Did Last Summer [ebook] I stort off, roysh, with a few old favourites [...] You're so ugly, you could scare flies off a shit wagon. You've a face that would stop a sundial.
[US]T. Robinson Hard Bounce [ebook] ‘Why us?’ ‘Because we're so pretty?’ ‘I am, but you could scare flies off a shit wagon’.
scared green (adj.) (also scared pink, ...white)

terrified; thus scare someone green/pink/white.

[UK]Motherwell Times 25 Aug. 4/2: There was the worst noise you ever heard in your life, and I made for the house just fairly scared green.
[US]E. Ferber Dawn O’Hara (1925) 90: Mother says she was scared green.
[US]Dos Passos Three Soldiers (2007) 275: I was scared green when I first saw you.
[US]C. Coe Me – Gangster 58: Scare that newsboy pink and shut him up.
[UK]Nottingham Eve. Post 2 June 4/4: ‘The door slammed, and I’ve been scared green ever since!’.
L.K. Hobson Other Father 157: ‘So you’re scared green!’ Alicia tossed her head, breathing out sharply.
[US]H. Ellison ‘Johnny Slice’s Stoolie’ in Deadly Streets (1983) 84: I was scared white.
[US]S. King Stand (1990) 482: Stu saw that he was scared green.
M. Greenside I Saw a Man Hit his Wife 110: Scared green. Scared red. Scared silly. Scared so bad.
scared shitless (adj.) (also scared fartless, ...pissless, ...shit, ...titless, shitless) [shit n. (1a)]

extremely frightened; thus used as a n. the scared shitless (see cit. 2002).

[US]J.T. Farrell ‘Curbstone Philosophy’ in Short Stories (1937) 216: Well, Bellows was jus’ about scared shitless.
[US](con. 1917–19) Dos Passos Nineteen Nineteen in USA (1966) 479: Turns out the sonofabitch was a dick. S––t I was scared pissless.
[US]A. Bessie Men in Battle 87: When I saw Joe Ryan’s good squad coming down the line, was I scared pissless!
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Capricorn (1964) 32: I was scared shitless.
[US]H. Miller Roofs of Paris (1983) 48: Miss Cavendish is scared shitless.
[US]C. Willingham End as a Man (1952) 182: You should hear the way he’s been talking; scared shitless.
[US]T.T. Chamales Never So Few (1958) 120: He’s scared shitless.
[US](con. 1953–7) L. Yablonsky Violent Gang (1967) 76: They were scared shitless. I just waved my blade in his face.
[US](con. 1940s) G. Mandel Wax Boom 278: Hey, I’m scared, I’m scared shitless!
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 20: The sonofabitch was scared shitless.
[US](con. 1958) R. Farina Been Down So Long (1972) 48: Oh, and was he shitless with fright.
[US](con. 1951) McAleer & Dickson Unit Pride (1981) 14: Everyone’s scared shit.
[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 337: I had that old fart scared shitless.
[US](con. 1960s) R. Price Wanderers 117: The truth of the matter was that Eugene was just plain scared shitless.
[US]D. Goines Inner City Hoodlum 31: At least they’re all scared shitless.
[US](con. 1969) M. Herr Dispatches 27: I was scared shit! I was scared every fucking moment.
[UK]A. Burgess 1985 (1980) 151: Those bastards strike [...] Scared shitless of the job is what I’d say.
[US](con. 1966) P. Conroy Lords of Discipline 107: I’d be scared shitless.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 131: Like an actor on the stage / scared shitless in the wings but once he’s on then he’s the king.
[UK](con. 1968) P. Theroux My Secret Hist. (1990) 338: Hey, I was scared shitless.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 124: You’re scared shitless, you know this is gas chamber stuff.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 153: I put on a big front, but underneath I was scared shitless.
[Can]O.D. Brooks Legs 36: I was scared fartless but glad to get it over with.
[Scot]I. Rankin Wolfman 31: She was scared seven colours shitless.
[US]R. Price Clockers 85: He was probably scared shit.
[UK]K. Lette Foetal Attraction (1994) 84: But I am frightened. I’m scared titless.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 169: This was what we all waited for, this was it, only this was out our league. Me I was shitless.
[US](con. 1960s) G. Washington Blood Brothers 20: When you’re scared shitless, best to have brown pants to match the color.
[UK]G. Burn Happy Like Murderers 331: Chris could see she was scared shitless.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 69: Am scird fuckin shitless t’tell a fuckin trewth.
[US]D.H. Sterry Chicken (2003) 23: I’m trying to get the tough to drown the scared-shitless but [...] my attempt at badness is an extremely limp biscuit.
[Aus]L. Redhead Peepshow [ebook] I felt humiliated and ashamed. And scared shitless.
[US]C. Hiaasen Nature Girl 171: Can’t you see he’s scared shitless?
[UK]K. Richards Life 64: I was scared shitless of facing him.
[US]D. Winslow Border [ebook] Cirello is scared shitless.
[US]S.A. Crosby Razorblade Tears 110: His two comarades are scared shitless.
scared spitless (adj.) (also scared witless)

a euph. for scared shitless

Lincoln Herald (NE) 10 Sept. 1/3: Every monopolist [...] is scared spitless over the prospect of a nonpartisan league victory.
[US]W. Smith Bessie Cotter 51: He was scared spitless.
Grand Bend Trib. (KS) 14 Aug. 4/2: We of the West are afraid all right [...] We’re scared spitless.
Eugene Guard (OR) 14 Aug. 8/2: The teevee industry [...] is scared spitless of pay television.
[US]Des Moines Register (IA) 13 Dec. 3/1: ‘I was scared spitless [...] It was the most horrifying sight I’ve ever seen’.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 13 Nov. 4: I’d posted one profoundly grateful/scared-witless response to a dinner invitation/death threat.
scare someone shitless (v.) [backform. f. scared shitless ]

to terrify.

[US]I. Rosenthal Sheeper 269: So much open love scared the boy shitless.
[Aus]K. Gilbert Living Black 93: The cops had been through Redfern and had scared the local black power heroes shitless.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 28: Enough to scare him shitless.
[NZ]H. Beaton Outside In Act II: I’ll never forget them faces. Frothin’ at the mouth. What a blast! Scared me shitless!
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 93: Threat threats [...] Enough to scare me shitless.
[US]L. Stringer Grand Central Winter (1999) 138: The same people who had scared her whole neighborhood shitless.
[UK]N. Barlay Hooky Gear 241: Which is to say I shock her. I mean, I sort of scare her shitless really.
scare the — out of (v.)

see under relevant n.

scare up (v.) (also scare together) [SE scare up, to frighten game out of cover]

(US) to obtain or produce, usu. with some difficulty and poss. by threatening the supplier.

[US]Gleaner (Manchester, NH) 29 Apr. n.p.: The place which defies all the nincompoops or corporation lickspittles that was ever scar’d up.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 125/2: Lets have no more mishaps, for this is a ‘gift’ not so easily scared up at all times.
[US]H.L. Williams N.-Y. After Dark 33: We want to scare up some fellers of the Wooster street crowd.
[US] ‘Lady Kate, the Dashing Female Detective’ in G.G. Roberts et al. Old Sleuth’s Freaky Female Detectives (1990) 15/1: Here is five dollars I’ve scared up for you. Take it.
[US]Ade Fables in Sl. (1902) 76: If you had thrown a Pebble into his Clump of Whiskers probably you would have scared up a Field Mouse and a couple of Meadow Larks.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘The Marionettes’ in Rolling Stones (1913) 69: Miss Amy sont me to git a doctor. Lawd knows whar ol’ Cindy’d a skeared one up from.
[US]‘A-No. 1’ Snare of the Road 101: I had vainly tried to scare up the price of a Bowery flop.
[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 8: Put the whole binge to Jeeves and see if he can’t scare up a happy ending.
[US]W.R. Burnett Dark Hazard (1934) 64: I went broke [...] I couldn’t even scare up enough money to buy feed for my horses.
[US]E. Pound letter Feb. in Paige (1971) 268: Tho I admit the company of bro. hoff will be more entertainin’ than that of the prospective Ogden and whatever other bloody brits one can scare together.
[US](con. 1917) S.J. Simonsen Soldier Bill 47: They did not have anybody to scare up their girls for them.
[US]M. Spillane Long Wait (1954) 69: For five maybe I could scare up something.
[US]L. McMurtry Horseman, Pass By (1997) 82: Just tryin’ to scare up a little company.
[US]D. Jenkins Semi-Tough 17: I happened to scare up a publisher in New York who was enthusiastic enough about it to give me a whole lot of what you call your up-front whip-out.
[US](con. 1968) Bunch & Cole Reckoning for Kings (1989) 230: It’s all I could scare up.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 288: I’ll [...] scare up some fresh hustles.
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 184: Before McCardle could scare up some alcohol, Tony began hopping up and down.
[US]A. Kirzman Giuliani 126: She was a midlevel employee at the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, with a talent for working the bureaucracy to scare up gizmos on short notice.