dread

verb
\ˈdred \

Definition of dread 

(Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to fear greatly can't swim and dreads the water a dreaded disease

b archaic : to regard with awe

2 : to feel extreme reluctance to meet or face dread the future dreaded telling him the truth dread the thought of speaking in public

intransitive verb

: to be apprehensive or fearful dread not

dread

noun

Definition of dread (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : great fear especially in the face of impending evil were filled with dread by reports of another terrorist attack

b : extreme uneasiness in the face of a disagreeable prospect (see prospect entry 1 sense 4c) dread of a social blunder

c archaic : awe

2 : one causing fear or awe the days of wooden ships and wooden homes, when fire was an omnipresent dread— F. W. Saunders

3a : dreadlock sense 1 trimming each dread

b dreads plural : dreadlock sense 2 looked great in dreads

dread

adjective

Definition of dread (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : causing great fear or anxiety dread diseases

2 : inspiring awe our dread king

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for dread

Noun

fear, dread, fright, alarm, panic, terror, trepidation mean painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger. fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually loss of courage. fear of the unknown dread usually adds the idea of intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety. faced the meeting with dread fright implies the shock of sudden, startling fear. fright at being awakened suddenly alarm suggests a sudden and intense awareness of immediate danger. view the situation with alarm panic implies unreasoning and overmastering fear causing hysterical activity. the news caused widespread panic terror implies the most extreme degree of fear. immobilized with terror trepidation adds to dread the implications of timidity, trembling, and hesitation. raised the subject with trepidation

Examples of dread in a Sentence

Verb

He can't swim and dreads going in the water. She dreaded making speeches in front of large audiences. I dread the day I will have to leave my friends. I dread the thought of moving next week. I dread to think about what they might do next.

Noun

She has a dread of failure. He lives with the constant dread of rejection. She awaited her punishment with dread. The news about the war fills me with dread. They live in constant dread of another attack.

Adjective

every ship on the Spanish Main was terrified of running into the dread pirate
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Salvadoran authorities are dreading the return of large numbers of MS-13 members, and some warn that the Trump administration might just be repeating the cycle that strengthened the gang in the first place. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Despite Hyper-Aggressive Rhetoric, Trump’s MS-13 Strategy Isn’t Very Comprehensive," 3 July 2018 Maggie Richter, a fledgling journalist now serving as the Rocque’s in-house editor, is dreading Lord’s gala for several reasons. Paula L. Woods, latimes.com, "The L.A. art scene is the setting for the mystery 'Still Lives' by Maria Hummel," 29 June 2018 Amid all the excitement of being the host, Russia had dreaded this game. Rory Smith, New York Times, "For Russia, Five Goals and One Big Sigh of Relief," 14 June 2018 And for those without a car — or those already dreading traffic jams on the Bourne and Sagamore bridges — there’s an easier way to get that beach day underway. Felicia Gans, BostonGlobe.com, "Here’s how to get to the Cape this summer without sitting in traffic," 9 May 2018 At Cramer, Janaiyah English, 10, and Star found great joy in a job that is often dreaded, mixing the ground beef, bread crumbs, and raw egg for the meatballs. Maureen Fitzgerald, Philly.com, "Learning how wonderful it can be to share a meal," 5 Apr. 2018 That means passing will be incredibly difficult and the race may end up turning into a single-file line – something that drivers in the front will be excited to hear, and those at the back will dread. Brendan Marks, charlotteobserver, "NASCAR | Sherry Pollex news, the fastest cars and more ahead of Sunday’s Daytona 500," 17 Feb. 2018 Kudos to CapnHammered for turning something that people dread (paying tickets, that is) into a moment that made the whole Internet smile. Marlisse Cepeda, Woman's Day, "This Man Only Had One Envelope to Send in His Speeding Ticket Fine. And It's Perfect.," 29 July 2015 The very idea of schools as bunkers makes me dread closing my eyes tonight. Ron Grossman, chicagotribune.com, "The nation's divide over guns is a disturbing echo of the past," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To continue reading this story, TRY IT NOW The 55-year-old woman’s dread came from the discovery of a dead baby, found in a trunk inside the residence at 1 p.m. in the 7900 block of Bronco Lane. Jacob Beltran, San Antonio Express-News, "Dead baby found in trunk during drug search at West Side home," 3 July 2018 Considering the self-deprecation and dread that preceded the 2018 World Cup opener here in the Russian capital, most would’ve imagined that call from Vladimir Putin going quite differently. Brian Straus, SI.com, "Russia's World Cup Opener Alters Its Narrative, Changes Its Outlook, Pleases Putin," 14 June 2018 This is the kind of movie that draws comparisons to the everyday surrealism and psychological dread of Roman Polanski and David Lynch, while forging its own weird aesthetic path. Ann Hornaday, kansascity, "In terrifying ‘Hereditary,’ past horrors haunt a dysfunctional family," 7 June 2018 As the attacks continued, a sense of anxiety and dread took hold of the city. Cynthia Hubert, sacbee, "In the 1970s, the East Area Rapist stole Sacramento's innocence," 29 Apr. 2018 Sci-fi, dark humour, existential dread, but also thematic links beneath the surface such as Gnosticism and counter-culture beat generation philosophy. Will Nevin, OregonLive.com, "Interview | Writer Ryan O'Sullivan, artist Plaid Klaus go inside Image Comics' 'Void Trip'," 16 Apr. 2018 There was no sense of dread, and Damascus’ main market, Souq al-Hamidiyya, was packed with thousands of people the day before the attack. Washington Post, "Before dawn, the streak of a missile across Damascus’ sky," 15 Apr. 2018 After the unexpected Jewish guests arrive by train, their slow but steady march to town imbues the film with a palpable sense of dread, and the residents act out in surprising ways. David Lewis, kansascity, "In powerful ‘1945’, a town confronts its wartime guilt | The Kansas City Star," 5 Apr. 2018 Evening meant anxiety and dread, at the night coming. The Cut, The Cut, "The Mom Who Dreaded Nighttime," 22 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dread.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of dread

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dread

Verb

Middle English dreden, from Old English drǣdan

Noun

see dread entry 1

Adjective

see dread entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dread

Dictionary Entries near dread

dray horse

drayman

Drayton

dread

dreaddour

dreadful

dreadingly

Statistics for dread

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dread

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dread

dread

verb

English Language Learners Definition of dread

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to fear something that will or might happen

dread

noun

English Language Learners Definition of dread (Entry 2 of 3)

: a strong feeling of fear about something that will or might happen

: a person or thing that causes fear

dread

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of dread (Entry 3 of 3)

: causing great fear

dread

verb
\ˈdred \
dreaded; dreading

Kids Definition of dread

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to fear or dislike greatly He can't swim and dreads going into the water.

2 : to be very unwilling to face I dread Monday.

dread

noun

Kids Definition of dread (Entry 2 of 3)

: great fear especially of something that will or might happen … her dread of water was greater than her fear of the dark …— L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz

dread

adjective

Kids Definition of dread (Entry 3 of 3)

: causing great fear or anxiety a dread disease

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on dread

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

WORD OF THE DAY

required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!