Idiom:  Scare the pants off

A huge, scary cartoon bear is grabbing a tourist by the neck in the woods. The tourist is so scared and terrified his pants and shoes are flying off his body.

Idiom:  Scare the pants off

Look at the picture above and see if you can guess the meaning of the idiom 'scare the pants off.'

scare the pants off:  to frighten someone a lot.


As you can see in the picture above, the tourist is very frightened of the bear, which is grabbing him by the throat. The man is so scared his pants are coming off. 

This expression doesn't mean the person's pants actually come off or fall down. It is just an idea that a person would be so scared or frightened they would actually jump out of their pants.


  • My colleague is so quiet that every time she walks over to my desk she scares the pants off me because I can't hear her.
  • Our math teacher scared the pants off the class when she said there was a surprise quiz.
  • Thunderstorms scare the pants off my children and my dogs too.
  • Our American Express bill scared the pants off my husband when he saw our daughter had charged two pairs of $500 designer shoes.
  • Ugh! My girlfriend sometimes wears so much makeup she scares the pants off me.
  • Skiing scared the pants off me and I'm never going to do it again.
  • Turkish cab drivers scare the pants off me. Sometimes they don't even stop at traffic lights!
  • Speaking in public really scares the pants off me so I avoid it as much as I can
  • Flying used to scare the pants off me but after I learned how safe it is I absolutely love it.
  • "Did you see the Exorcist?"  "No way! Those kinds of movies scare the pants off me."
  • Riding with my boyfriend on his motorcycle scares the pants off me.
  • When I turned on the light and my cat was staring me in the face it scared the pants off me.
  • Agggghhhh! Don’t walk up behind us so quietly like that—you scared the pants off us!
  • My little brother likes to jump out from behind things and scare the pants off everyone.
  • scared the pants off my dad when I tried to sneak in the house in the middle of the night.


  • shake someone up
  • scare stiff
  • strike terror in someone

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