Make One’s Blood Curdle

Also: Blood-curdling (adjective)

Meaning of Idiom ‘Make One’s Blood Curdle’

Something that makes your blood curdle is very frightening and fills you with fear. 1Pare, May. Body Idioms and More: For Learners of English. United States?: Mayuree Pare, 2005.,2Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms]. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.


Often used interchangeably with make one’s blood run cold.

Examples Of Use

“I heard a noise in the middle of the night that just made my blood curdle. I think it was a ghost!” said Michelle. “No, it was the pipes,” said Peter

“That story about the people who were murdered in that house down the street makes my blood curdle.”

“He heard a blood-curdling scream from the house next door. Fill with trepidation, he went to investigate.”


According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms, this idiom has the same origin as the related idiom makes one’s blood run cold, having to do with the Medieval notion that the body consists of four humours [sp], blood being one of them. 3Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms]. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010. When something curdles, such as milk, it congeals and forms lumps or ‘curds.’ If something makes the blood curdle, it would no longer be able to flow freely throughout the body. There is also a related expression, also related to fear, regarding one’s scream “curdling in one’s throat.”

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