I've learned the word 'spine-tingling' in an Oxford book. While when I look up that word in the Websters dictionary,there only comes out 'spine-chilling'. I perceived them as synonyms but no evidence suggests that. So what's the difference between them and what are their usage?

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    That would depend on the context. Some sexual positions are intriguing, others less so. All people are different, and no reaction can be predicted with any kind of certainty. – Ricky Nov 9 '15 at 12:05
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    You had better try looking up what "tingling/tingle" and "chilling/chill" mean. They are all there. – user140086 Nov 9 '15 at 12:15
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    @Ricky - Neither term has primarily sexual connotations. – Hot Licks Nov 9 '15 at 12:33
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    @HotLicks: That's what THEY want you to think. In accordance with the prophecy. – Ricky Nov 9 '15 at 12:36
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    They mean essentially the same thing -- scary. "Spine-tingling" is by far the more common, in the US, but "spine-chilling" might be used for, eg, a zombie movie that leaves one feeling cold and "dead" vs overly stimulated. – Hot Licks Nov 9 '15 at 12:36

There is a picture in today's Otago Daily Times of a man running whilst he is ablaze from an explosion, and the caption reads, " The spine-tingling image of a man running while engulfed in flames ", etc.. This, to me, should be described as ' spine-chilling' rather than tingling, because of the horror and life threatening aspect. Spine tingling is a different experience altogether, I think anyway.

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  • Just plain chilling would ordinarily be the best choice for something unspeakably horrifying -- but for fires it would be unfortunately ludicrous. – Bread Apr 13 '18 at 22:37

According to A Dictionary of Confusable Phrases: More than 10,000 Idioms and Collocations:

Something spine-chilling is terrifying, whereas something spine-tingling is exciting.

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