\ 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]

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 For someone who was once afraid of flying, Danny Ramirez sure picks projects that force him to push through his phobia on screen. Brett Williams, Men's Health, 17 May 2022 Don’t be afraid of color or pattern with this sundress, which is perfect for any warm weather occasion. Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun, 16 May 2022 People are afraid of investing with the way the world goes. Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 16 May 2022 Hale also urged graduates to follow their hearts and to not be afraid of failure, citing his own experience with founding a billion-dollar company — Network Plus — that went bankrupt. Globe Staff,, 13 May 2022 Hattie helps her anxious friends deal with everyday worries like being afraid of talking in class, before tackling some anxieties of her own. Lauren Morgan,, 12 May 2022 Many commentators suggested that Musk might be afraid of former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, playing off of the conspiracy theory that the Clintons were involved in Jeffrey Epstein's suicide. Fox News, 9 May 2022 Also refreshingly, the designer wasn’t afraid of color or patterns. Ann Abel, Forbes, 5 May 2022 Speaking of Ja Morant, this dude is not afraid of the spotlight. Michael Sykes, USA TODAY, 4 May 2022 See More

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.

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

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Time Traveler for afraid

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

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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Afraid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for afraid


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on afraid

Nglish: Translation of afraid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of afraid for Arabic Speakers


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