\ ˈder \
dared; daring; dares or (auxiliary) dare

Definition of dare 

(Entry 1 of 4)

auxiliary verb

: to be sufficiently courageous to no one dared say a word she dare not let herself love —G. B. Shaw

intransitive verb

: to have sufficient courage try it if you dare

transitive verb

1a : to challenge to perform an action especially as a proof of courage dared him to jump

b : to confront boldly : defy dared the anger of his family

2 : to have the courage to contend against, venture, or try the actress dared a new interpretation of the classic role



Definition of dare (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : an act or instance of daring (see dare entry 1 sense 1) : challenge crossed the river on a dare refused to take the dare

2 : imaginative or vivacious boldness : daring

Definition of DARE (Entry 3 of 4)

Dictionary of American Regional English


biographical name
\ ˈder \

Definition of Dare (Entry 4 of 4)

Virginia 1587–? 1st child born in America of English parents

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Other words from dare


darer \ˈder-ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dare

Synonyms: Verb

beard, brave, brazen, breast, confront, defy, face, outbrave, outface

Antonyms: Verb

dodge, duck, funk, shirk, sidestep

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Examples of dare in a Sentence


Try it if you dare. We wanted to laugh but didn't dare. The actress dared a new interpretation of the classic role. She dared him to dive off the bridge. She dared me to ask him out on a date. I did, and he said yes.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Cervantes’s Luar wedding dress might have been the center of attention (and for good reason), but the DJ’s daring look just about steals the spotlight. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "The Best Fashion Instagrams of the Week: Slick Woods Shows Off Her Fresh Pregnancy Style and More," 14 July 2018 My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh pulls off an unlikely premise, demonstrating once again the unsettling energy, daring plotting and biting observations that have earned her literary prizes and praise from the start of her career. Clare Mchugh, Time, "Why Ottessa Moshfegh Is One of the Best Novelists of the Summer," 12 July 2018 For colonists, drinking water meant risking one’s life, and no one who could afford otherwise dared do it. Amanda Cargill, Smithsonian, "What Did the Founding Fathers Eat and Drink as They Started a Revolution?," 3 July 2018 Last week he and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, had issued a joint initiative on euro-zone reform that was more ambitious than some French observers had dared hope. The Economist, "After months of preparation, a damp squib on euro-zone reform," 29 June 2018 That's because the postseason is a different beast and the Cavs successfully game-planned to limit Indiana's two best scorers in Bogdanovic and Victor Oladipo while daring others to beat them who couldn't. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Bojan Bogdanovic will return to the Pacers, report says," 29 June 2018 There’s another legacy: all the 19th-century Americans who were fed because these pioneers dared to plow and plant and persevere. Randy Dotinga, The Christian Science Monitor, "'The Bone and Sinew of the Land' restores a lost chapter of US history," 25 June 2018 In five years as an infielder in the Orioles’ farm system from 1967 to 1971, Ron Shelton never made it to the pros, daring to make it to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings. Edward Lee, baltimoresun.com, "Remembering ‘Bull Durham,' and its Orioles ties, on the movie's 30th anniversary," 15 June 2018 Other concoctions are less well known, and some have likely disappeared forever as many bartenders dared not share their trade secrets. Kevin Hopper, idahostatesman, "Recipes survive gone-but-not-forgotten culture of 1950s," 2 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The friends must play, with untold truths and incomplete dares resulting in death, and the secrets shared causing rifts among the formerly close group. Kimber Myers, latimes.com, "The only scary thing about 'Truth or Dare' is how boring it is," 12 Apr. 2018 The user currently has just over 500 followers, but Musk responded to his dare within minutes. Rebecca Bratek, CBS News, "Elon Musk pledges to fund fixing water in Flint homes with lead contamination," 12 July 2018 After a round of rock paper scissors to see who would go first, Joey agreed to begin with a dare. Brianna Wiest, Teen Vogue, ""The Kissing Booth" Stars Joey King and Joel Courtney Play Truth or Dare," 2 July 2018 To insist that Basquiat was a virtuoso is to turn away from the paintings all over again, to miss their ultimate dare. Stephen Metcalf, The Atlantic, "Jean-Michel Basquiat Is Still an Enigma," 24 June 2018 WeWorld Onlus per fare squadra a dare #unrossoallaviolenza sulle donne As was Lazio striker Ciro Immobile, the league's current top goalscorer, who posted a photo with girlfriend Jessica Melena. Matias Grez, CNN, "Soccer stars use red lipstick to raise awareness about domestic violence," 23 Apr. 2018 The adjacent brink provides just the right dare-you-to-jump height for youngsters to leap into the plunge pool. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Hot sun, full moon, cool water make for surreal swims," 28 June 2018 This is not a dare, but think of this as a challenge. Gigi Gorgeous, Billboard, "Gigi Gorgeous: Love Letter to the LGBTQ Community," 17 June 2018 When the Tribune broke the scandal, schools CEO Jackson lashed out at mayoral candidates who’d dare criticize Emanuel. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Why haven’t Chicago Board of Education, CEO Jackson resigned over sexual abuse scandal? It’s the Chicago Way.," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dare.' 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 dare


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense


1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dare


Middle English dar (1st & 3rd singular present indicative), from Old English dear; akin to Old High German gitar (1st & 3rd singular present indicative) dare, Greek tharsos courage


see dare entry 1

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Statistics for dare

Last Updated

27 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for dare

The first known use of dare was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for dare



English Language Learners Definition of dare

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to have enough courage or confidence to do something : to not be too afraid to do something

: to do (something that is difficult or that people are usually afraid to do)

: to tell (someone) to do something especially as a way of showing courage



English Language Learners Definition of dare (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of telling someone to do something as a way of showing courage


\ ˈder \
dared; daring

Kids Definition of dare

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to have courage enough for some purpose : be bold enough Try it if you dare. sometimes used as a helping verb The knight looked so solemn about it that Alice did not dare to laugh. —Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

2 : to challenge to do something especially as a proof of courage I dare you to jump.

3 : to face with courage They dared the dangerous crossing.



Kids Definition of dare (Entry 2 of 2)

: a challenge to do something as proof of courage I ate the hot pepper on a dare.

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Comments on dare

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


the setting in which something occurs

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