Green’s Dictionary of Slang

freak out v.

[freak v.3 (1)]
(orig. US drugs)

1. to experience an altered state of consciousness from the effects of a hallucinogenic drug; usu. an unpleasant effect; thus freaker-out n.

[US]Frank Zappa ‘The Downtown Talent Scout’ [lyrics] He’s just another of the kiddies freaking out.
[UK]Nova Apr. 83: The boys [...] had acquired jargon which even in Japanese pop periodicals is being used decoratively, with no real concept of meaning: turned on, dropped out, freaked out.
[UK]New Statesman 28 Mar. 424: Ms Kavan’s bleak forays among ghastly freakers-out and assorted libbers.
[Can]Totally True Diaries of an Eighties Roller Queen [Internet] 14 June I took a hit of acid (evolution shaped like bugs). It was really fun. [...] We didn’t know what was happening. I was pretty freaked out and couldn’t stop laughing.
[UK]I. Welsh Trainspotting 137: If you’re E’d out of your box [...] you’d be better off at some rave freaking out to heavy techno-sounds.
[US]Africa News Service 29 Nov. [Internet] For a while there is that euphoria, (but) crack can get you so high that you freak out and lose control.
G.R. Peterson Rhapsody in Overdrive 52: So you told your sister that I freaked out on acid?

2. to worry someone, to disturb, to horrify – the level of trauma depends on context.

[US]L. Bruce Essential Lenny Bruce 138: Fix him up with Dirty Bertha. Freak him out.
Meyer & Ebert Beyond Valley of the Dolls [film script] This is my happening and it freaks me out!
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 72: Freaks me out, that does.
[US]E. Bogosian Talk Radio (1989) 39: He lost his voice once [...] Freaked him the fuck out.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 84: Burning the house, that’ll freak him out.
[US]C. Fleming High Concept 141: The drug use freaked her out, and it affected Don’s ability to [...] perform.
[UK]N. Barlay Hooky Gear 143: So I scream loud as I can. Which wake the dead an freak the fuck even more out of Arno.
[UK]N. Griffiths Stump 95: Fuckin freaked me right out, that has [...] Really freaked me right out.
[US]W. Ellis Crooked Little Vein 50: I also had the suspicion [...] that it might freak Trix out a bit.
[US]C. Hiaasen Star Island (2011) 44: Captain, stop. You’re freaking me out.
[UK]A. Wheatle Crongton Knights 243: We’re not in any beef with these young cadets. Haven’t we freaked them out enough?

3. to engage in unorthodox or unrestrained sexual activity.

[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 36: Knowing that one they’ll be freaking out by now.

4. to go crazy, wild or out of control from fear or instability.

[US]H.S. Thompson Hell’s Angels (1967) 271: He freaked out in Wyoming and killed a dozen people for reasons he couldn’t explain.
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 37: Maybe he, John Shaft, was freaking out.
[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 58: When the blacks saw me they freaked out.
[US]Tarantino & Avery Pulp Fiction [film script] 120: He kinda freaked out back there when he saw Marvin.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 370: A still remember Ikey freakin out the time [...] when ee found out that Oily ad buggered off with a ton-a Phil’s money.
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 127: We couldn’t shoot him just for being too freaked out to listen.

5. to experience intense emotional pleasure; thus freak someone out v., to engender such pleasure.

[UK]M. Novotny Kings Road 94: ‘Everyone’s freaking out,’ said Brad, ‘shall we join them?’ They stood and joined the dancing bodies.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 4: freak out – have a good time.
[US]D. Clowes Ghost World 22: This is my happening and it freaks me out!!
[UK](con. 1979–80) A. Wheatle Brixton Rock (2004) 91: People go there [i.e. a club] to freak out, you know, get loose.

6. to be upset, worried; thus freaked out adj., worried, nervous, upset.

[US]R. Stone Hall of Mirrors (1987) 230: Are we going to sit around here and argue about that poor freaked out twitch?
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct. 2: freak out [...] I think Murray was freaked out when he saw me all dressed up.
[US]H. Gould Fort Apache, The Bronx 327: Those guys are freaked out, Sarge.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper From The Inside 54: The rest of the guys freaked out, they thought I’d gone crazy.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 15: I reckon he wanted me to be a bit freaked out.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Jungletown Jihad’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 341: We left Camel Cal [...] He might rabbit or free-form freak out.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] The way he freaked out, he’d probably threaten to tell that bitch Talbot.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] The freaked-out look guys got when a formerly compliant woman went ballistic.
[UK]J. Fagan Panopticon (2013) 236: Shortie looked freaked out.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] Levin just nods, too freaked out to talk.

7. to back down, to retreat from a position.

[US]Current Sl. IV:1 8: Freak out, v. To lose one’s courage; to ‘turn chicken’; to back off.