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Scare the bejesus out of sb: to frighten, annoy, bore, etc. someone very much [Cambridge].

Scare the bejesus out of sb: To shock or frighten one very suddenly or severely. ("Bejesus," a mild euphemistic oath, is here used as an intensifying noun.) [Idioms Free Dictionary]

E.g.

The sound of the fire alarm scared the bejesus out of us this morning.

For more information of bejesus (derived by "by Jesus") see here [ESE]

What are some common ways to express a similar idea in French?

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  • « — L’alarme incendie nous a fait paniquer ce matin. »
    – Personne
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 12:34
  • I think this is a metaphor for something so terrifying that it would unseat any existing or incumbent religious beliefs you might have. Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 23:52

5 Answers 5

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If you want a slang, banlieues speech register version :

Ce matin, l'alarme incendie, elle nous a fait flipper notre race !

Beware that the register of flipper sa race is probably quite the opposite of the English expression "scare the bejesus of someone"...

A still colloquial but less distinctive alternative can be:

Elle nous a fait flipper grave !

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  • 4
    Ou peut-être juste "fait flipper" qui est moins connoté "banlieues" et très répandu parmi m'a génération (30-40 ans) Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 15:10
  • @JacquesGaudin "Flipper" tout seul n'a pas vraiment le même sens.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 20:07
  • 3
    "Flipper" = "avoir peur" non ? Ajouter "race" donne effectivement une connotation très "banlieue", mais sans ca l'expression ne perd pas son sens selon moi.
    – Laurent S.
    Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 6:43
  • 2
    @LaurentS.*Flipper* évoque plus pour moi une angoisse sourde, intériorisée alors que scare the bejesus out of me me semble être une sensation brusque et violente. C'est pour ça que je propose flipper sa racesa race tient lieu d'intensificateur. Une variante moins « connotée banlieues » peut être elle nous a fait flipper grave.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 7:33
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« Il y a l'alarme-incendie qui s'est déclenchée ce matin, on a failli faire une crise cardiaque tellement on a eu peur ! »

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In addition to other answers:

"L'alarme incendie nous a fait la peur de notre vie!"

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You can also use “foutre la trouille”, which usually conveys a notion of suddenty:

L'alarme incendie nous a foutu la trouille [de notre vie] !

Although “foutre” is quite informal here, it would not be considered as vulgar/slang in this context, unlike in “va te faire foutre !” (“fuck off!”).

Adding “de notre vie” (“of our life”) enforces the feeling of severity, although it is usually not used in the litteral sense.

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Quebec slang with (mild) expletive "crisse" French would be:

L'alarme d'incendie ce matin nous a fait peur en crisse!

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