\ ə-ˈfrād How to pronounce afraid (audio) , Southern also ə-ˈfred \

Definition of afraid

1 : filled with fear or apprehension afraid of machines was afraid for his job
2 : filled with concern or regret over an unwanted situation I'm afraid I won't be able to go.
3 : having a dislike for something She's not afraid of hard work. [=she's not unwilling to work hard]

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for afraid

fearful, apprehensive, afraid mean disturbed by fear. fearful implies often a timorous or worrying temperament. the child is fearful of loud noises apprehensive suggests a state of mind and implies a premonition of evil or danger. apprehensive of being found out afraid often suggests weakness or cowardice and regularly implies inhibition of action or utterance. afraid to speak the truth

Examples of afraid in a Sentence

Melissa is afraid of flying, so she takes a train from Boston to visit her brother in Chicago.
Recent Examples on the Web Green Garlic Prosciutto Toast For those that aren’t afraid of flavor, this Green Garlic Prosciutto Toast recipe is right up your alley. Drake Wilson, Sunset Magazine, "The Recipes You Should Be Cooking This February," 10 Feb. 2020 What kind of man is afraid of being naked in private? Abigail Van Buren, Houston Chronicle, "Fabulous first date leads to loveless marriage trap," 8 Feb. 2020 My major takeaway is to not be afraid of fat biking. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, "Want to try fat biking but feeling timid about it? Here are some tips.," 8 Feb. 2020 To put it bluntly, Gaby is not afraid to get in someone’s face. Adam Rapoport, Bon Appétit, "It’s Not Easy Being Green—But We’re Trying," 7 Jan. 2020 That’s because dogs, like humans, are hardwired to be afraid of sudden, loud noises. Popular Science, "Six ways you can ease your dog’s fear of fireworks," 31 Dec. 2019 One shepherd noted that leopards were afraid of human beings and would stay out of their way. Bhanu Sridharan, Quartz India, "In a Himalayan Indian village, “leopards escort humans safely”," 24 Dec. 2019 Throughout the pre-free agency period last winter, the Broncos were linked to Jackson because coach Vic Fangio covets versatile players who aren’t afraid to tackle, and Jackson checked both of those boxes. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "In first year with Broncos, Kareem Jackson has proven to be right fit," 6 Dec. 2019 There were women who never told their husbands, afraid they’d be labeled as infertile. Hilaria Baldwin, Glamour, "Hilaria Baldwin: ‘There’s No Right Way to Deal With a Miscarriage’," 28 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'afraid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of afraid

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for afraid

Middle English affraied, afraied, from past participle of affraien "to disturb, frighten" — more at affray entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about afraid

Time Traveler for afraid

Time Traveler

The first known use of afraid was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for afraid

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Afraid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for afraid


How to pronounce afraid (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of afraid

: worried that something will cause pain or injury
: nervous about doing something
: nervous or worried that something might happen


\ ə-ˈfrād How to pronounce afraid (audio) \

Kids Definition of afraid

1 : filled with fear She was afraid of snakes.
2 : filled with concern or regret I'm afraid I won't be able to go.
3 : having a dislike for something They're not afraid to work hard.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on afraid

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for afraid

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with afraid

Spanish Central: Translation of afraid

Nglish: Translation of afraid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of afraid for Arabic Speakers

Comments on afraid

What made you want to look up afraid? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!