\ 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]

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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

Mr McBride, for one, is not afraid to look in the mirror. The Economist, "Australia’s surprising disregard for free speech," 15 June 2019 Beth Ford is the president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. —Private insurers are afraid of Medicare for All. Beth Ford, Fortune, "Land O’Lakes CEO: Farmers Are in Crisis—and America Isn’t Paying Attention," 11 June 2019 Yet people who dislike VAR are not merely afraid of the march of the future; even though, oddly enough, two of the biggest English Premier League clubs will not show VAR replays in their stadiums next year. Musa Okwonga, Quartz Africa, "How to make the case for and against VAR—video assistant referee—in the beautiful game," 10 June 2019 As medics ran tests to identify the deadly plague, even the health workers were afraid—nobody had seen this sickness before. Gaia Vince, Quartz, "How to survive in the world’s largest refugee camp," 8 June 2019 Some farmers read messages on behalf of others who were too afraid to come. Isaac Arnsdorf, ProPublica, "Chicken Farmers Thought Trump Was Going to Help Them. Then His Administration Did the Opposite.," 5 June 2019 History teaches us of the danger of being afraid to speak truth to power. Alex Morales,, "President Sees Trade Deal If U.K. Loses Shackles: Trump Update," 3 June 2019 When Spirit was brought in early last week, the fawn was afraid and rejected bottles, Nicholas said. Washington Post, "A truck driver stopped to rescue a goat or lamb. Turns out, it was something rare.," 4 June 2019 There’s a sense of history and continuity here, while at the same time not being afraid of the new or the radical. Mark Holgate, Vogue, "Max Mara’s Ian Griffiths Talks Berlin, Bowie, Politics and Coming of Age in Punk-Era Manchester," 31 May 2019

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

21 Jun 2019

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



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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on afraid

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with afraid

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for afraid

Spanish Central: Translation of afraid

Nglish: Translation of afraid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of afraid for Arabic Speakers

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