dread

verb
\ ˈdred How to pronounce dread (audio) \
dreaded; dreading; dreads

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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Who can relate to dreading going through the steps of their skincare routine after a busy day? Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Everything In Amazon's Fast Beauty Co. Sheet Mask Line Is Under $20," 14 Mar. 2019 Much like publishers embraced and later dreaded Amazon.com, the popularity of food-delivery apps may mean restaurants could be the next businesses to get starved. Laura Forman, WSJ, "Delivery Apps May Take the Whole Enchilada," 10 Mar. 2019 Heller had every problem that an incumbent would dread. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Fox News Power Rankings: Dean Heller, survivalist," 19 Sep. 2018 Russia’s dreaded nuclear torpedo, designed to nuke entire coastal cities into oblivion and trigger tsunamis, has been sighted in tests at sea. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia’s Nuclear Tsunami Apocalypse Torpedo is Named 'Poseidon'," 24 July 2018 Collin wears dreads; Miles sports a collection of tattoos and a grill. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Blindspotting is the rare buddy comedy that tackles social issues. It works.," 19 July 2018 Bottom line: the appointment I had so dreaded for so long was altogether a non-event. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "I Went to the Gyno for the First Time and Here's What Happened," 13 Sep. 2018 Although many students are dreading the end of spring break, returning to school will be a welcome experience for Kingwood High School students. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "Kingwood High School students excited to return home campus," 16 Mar. 2018 Buy Photo On the afternoon of June 12, an ambulance sent by Temple University Hospital’s Episcopal Campus pulled up to Station House, a shelter for homeless men, with the kind of passenger Michael Hinson has come to dread. Stacey Burling, Philly.com, "Shelters, hospitals 'playing ping pong' with Philadelphia's homeless, sick population," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Burns’ portrait of a young woman in a country much like Northern Ireland, a teenager trapped in a vise of violence, harassment and repression, creates a creeping dread that requires breaks and long looks at the horizon before diving back in. Mary Ann Gwinn, The Seattle Times, "A closer look at three National Book Critics Circle finalists," 20 Feb. 2019 There’s an overwhelming sense of dread and suspense lurking in the trailer, which means that season three is basically guaranteed to be a wild ride. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Noah Centineo Returns to Hulu's "T@gged" In Creepy New Season 3 Trailer," 29 Nov. 2018 This biographical detail is especially ironic for Clinton, the prolific maestro who got the world dancing to Parliament Funkadelic, a psychedelic musical collective that's indistinguishable from rainbow dreads and technolocolor Afrofuturist garb. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "George Clinton on Jumping Out of Spaceships in 9-Inch Heels and That Time He Called Out Prince," 23 Oct. 2018 But for this urban dweller, an Appalachian temperate rainforest was enough to rouse a faint tug of dread—in a good way. Mark Rozzo, Town & Country, "Introducing Blackberry Mountain, the Idyllic New Resort from Blackberry Farm," 11 Feb. 2019 This is another creeping-dread film that’s more about tension and the isolation of the environment than about jump-scares and monster attacks. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "The new horror film canon (and where to stream it)," 1 Nov. 2018 But both felt a visceral connection to this story, at its core a parable for the bottomless dread that comes as part of the package deal of parenting. Eliza Berman, Time, "John Krasinski and Emily Blunt on," 5 Apr. 2018 Hesse may not have been afraid that books would someday disappear, taking readers with them, but the dread of it thrums under the surface of this handsome book like a low chord in the soundtrack of thriller. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Inspiring Words for Aspiring Readers," 13 Dec. 2018 Gone are the days of joyless, dread-inducing workouts. Lourdes Avila Uribe, Glamour, "I Bought a $300 Trampoline for My Apartment, and I Have No Regrets," 9 Jan. 2019

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.

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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, Noun, and Adjective

Middle English dreden, from Old English drǣdan

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Learn More about dread

Dictionary Entries near dread

dray horse

drayman

Drayton

dread

dreaddour

dreadful

dreadingly

Statistics for dread

Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dread

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

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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)

formal : causing great fear

dread

verb
\ ˈdred How to pronounce dread (audio) \
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on dread

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dread

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dread

Spanish Central: Translation of dread

Nglish: Translation of dread for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dread for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dread

Comments on dread

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