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verb \ˈfir\

Simple Definition of fear

  • : to be afraid of (something or someone)

  • : to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant)

  • : to be afraid and worried

Full Definition of fear

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 archaic :  frighten

  3. 2 archaic :  to feel fear in (oneself)

  4. 3 :  to have a reverential awe of <fear God>

  5. 4 :  to be afraid of :  expect with alarm <fear the worst>

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to be afraid or apprehensive <feared for their lives>

fear·er noun

Examples of fear

  1. He was a cruel king who was feared and hated by his subjects.

  2. There's no need to fear.

Origin of fear

Middle English feren, from Old English fǣran, from fǣr

First Known Use: before 12th century




Simple Definition of fear

  • : an unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger : a feeling of being afraid

  • : a feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful

Full Definition of fear

  1. 1 a :  an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger b (1) :  an instance of this emotion (2) :  a state marked by this emotion

  2. 2 :  anxious concern :  solicitude

  3. 3 :  profound reverence and awe especially toward God

  4. 4 :  reason for alarm :  danger

Examples of fear

  1. He was trembling with fear.

  2. unable to walk the streets without fear of being mugged

  3. They regarded their enemies with fear and hatred.

  4. I've been trying to overcome my fear of flying.

  5. The doctor's diagnosis confirmed our worst fears.

  6. The government is trying to allay fears of a recession.

  7. Employees expressed fears that the company would go out of business.

  8. He told us about all his hopes and fears.

  9. She has a morbid fear of cats.

Origin of fear

Middle English fer, from Old English fǣr sudden danger; akin to Old High German fāra ambush and perhaps to Latin periculum attempt, peril, Greek peiran to attempt

First Known Use: 12th century

Synonym Discussion of fear

fear, dread, fright, alarm, panic, terror, trepidation mean painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger. fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually loss of courage <fear of the unknown>. dread usually adds the idea of intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety <faced the meeting with dread>. fright implies the shock of sudden, startling fear <fright at being awakened suddenly>. alarm suggests a sudden and intense awareness of immediate danger <view the situation with alarm>. panic implies unreasoning and overmastering fear causing hysterical activity <the news caused widespread panic>. terror implies the most extreme degree of fear <immobilized with terror>. trepidation adds to dread the implications of timidity, trembling, and hesitation <raised the subject with trepidation>.

Medical Dictionary


noun \ˈfi(ə)r\

Medical Definition of fear

  1. 1:  an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger and accompanied by increased autonomic activity

  2. 2:  an instance of fear

  3. fear verb

Seen and Heard

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February 7, 2016

a slight offense

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