\ə-ˈfrād, 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]

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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

Ariana Grande has never been afraid to speak her mind. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande Calls Out Celebrities Who Don't Use Their Voices for Political Activism," 11 July 2018 New York City was supposedly filled with crime, but nobody ever seemed to be afraid of anything, and there was no AIDS yet. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Dianne Benson, A Maverick Retailer in 1980s New York, Talks Fashion, Art, and Collaborators Like David Wojnarowicz and Cindy Sherman," 13 July 2018 Many of them, according to Vaughn, were U.S. citizens or green card holders but were afraid nevertheless of being detained themselves. Nomaan Merchant,, "Hunger, fear, desperation: What came of an ordinary ICE raid in Covington," 9 July 2018 With the move, McConnell is pushing off a potentially costly conflict with Trump who wants the Senate to stay and work and isn't afraid to say it. Ted Barrett And Lauren Fox, CNN, "Mitch McConnell cancels August recess for Senate," 5 June 2018 Not afraid to be colossally wrong in the service of making stuff happen. Scott Ostler,, "Some summer fun at NBA’s Summer League," 10 July 2018 The attacks made witnesses afraid to come forth, and the crimes initially went unsolved. Jeff Truesdell,, "4 Things You’ll Learn About the Murderous Nation of Yahweh on People Magazine Investigates: Cults," 22 June 2018 Australia manager Bert van Marwijk has claimed Denmark were 'afraid' of the Socceroos during their 1-1 draw in Samara., "Bert van Marwijk Claims Denmark Were 'Afraid' of Socceroos During Group C Clash," 21 June 2018 Officers said in the arrest report that there was a second Chihuahua in the yard at the house that was obviously afraid of Cortez. Shawn R. Beals, Courant Community, "Manchester Police Make Two Animal Cruelty Arrests," 5 July 2018

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.

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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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Learn More about afraid

Dictionary Entries near afraid

afoul of




afraid for

afraid not

afraid so

Statistics for afraid

Last Updated

25 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for afraid

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

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More Definitions for afraid


\ə-ˈfrād \

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.

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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).


playful or foolish behavior

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