\ 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 And Hokule’a, the surfing cat on Oahu who happily spends hours on a surfboard and isn’t afraid to launch himself into the salt water for a quick swim. Sarah Sekula, USA TODAY, "Have cat, will travel: These #adventurecats love to surf, swim, hike and camp," 23 Feb. 2021 Countries in places like Europe, which previously were afraid to stand up to Beijing, now are under internal pressure to take a harder line, with some barring Chinese investment and approving sanctions. Patrick Barta, WSJ, "How Xi Jinping Is Reshaping China and What It Means for the West," 23 Feb. 2021 Bacon is not afraid to pass up a highlight-reel dunk for a chance to absorb a foul and earn three points the old-fashioned way. Roy Parry,, "Magic guard Dwayne Bacon stretches out his game to help Orlando," 19 Feb. 2021 Crystal Dunn is not afraid to use her voice anymore. Mark Heim |, al, "U.S. women vs. Canada soccer live stream (2/18): How to watch SheBelieves Cup online, time, TV," 18 Feb. 2021 Don’t be afraid to get creative with the accessories! Cassandra Hogan, Town & Country, "How to Style a Classic: White Sneakers," 17 Feb. 2021 The stringent testing helped prevent outbreaks within facilities, but despite assurances of safety, many patients remain afraid to seek in-person care. Usha Lee Mcfarling, STAT, "As the pandemic ushered in isolation and financial hardship, overdose deaths reached new heights," 16 Feb. 2021 The Cowboys shouldn’t be afraid to select Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater, either. John Owning, Dallas News, "Pitfalls the Cowboys need to avoid in the 2021 NFL draft, like reaching for a defender at No. 10," 12 Feb. 2021 Founded by two sisters who aren't afraid to leave little to the imagination, Reina Olga is filled with vibrant prints, bold patterns, and retro silhouettes that will catch everyone's eye. Taylor Ayers, Marie Claire, "The Best New Swimwear of Summer 2021," 9 Feb. 2021

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

Time Traveler for afraid

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for afraid

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Afraid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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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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Comments on afraid

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