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

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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

Travel-wise, consider those dreaded, uncomfortable overnight flights that send you into a jet lag spiral a thing of the past. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Why an Around-the-World Private Jet Trip is the Only Way to Fly," 17 Aug. 2018 Every student came to dread those few weeks in May. Haley Hershenson, Teen Vogue, "My SAT Scores Don’t Define Me," 4 Oct. 2018 Paul Jason Klein used to dread and sleep through his birthdays, but that changed this year. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "LANY's Paul Jason Klein Breaks Down the Worst Heartbreak of His Life," 17 July 2018 Altman remembers the days when the Ducks were the ones others dreaded to play on their schedules and hopes another week of strong play can get them back there. Tyson Alger, OregonLive.com, "Oregon starts to click as crucial week of games against USC and UCLA loom for Ducks," 17 Jan. 2018 For nearly a decade, her parents had dreaded that this call would come one day as Niki had slipped in and out of drug use. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "'Bodies can't take it': Fentanyl involved in nearly half of drug overdose deaths," 2 July 2018 In the minute-long video, the Milwaukee zoo's gentoo and rockhopper penguins line up patiently, and sometimes not too patiently, to do the thing most Americans dreaded right after the holidays — step on the scale. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee County Zoo penguins step on the scale after holidays, just like humans," 19 Jan. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The weighty, intense Disasterpeace score underlines the film’s sense of dread, but mostly, Mitchell gets a long series of unsettling moments out of simply having someone in the background of a shot moving toward the foreground. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "The new horror film canon (and where to stream it)," 1 Nov. 2018 The plot catches up to this aesthetic sense of dread soon enough with one call in particular. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "The Guilty review: Even in 2018, a simple phone can be utterly thrilling," 21 Oct. 2018 If you—gasp—do not own any Thom Browne and are asked to attend one of these events, you will be filled with a sense of dread. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Thom Browne's Dinner With Barneys New York Was a Parade of Polos, Octopus Gowns, and Whale-Print Silk Separates," 11 Sep. 2018 Image The pool party is a squirmy tour de force embellished with a punctuating zoom and a plangent sense of dread that make Kayla’s isolation feel like alienation. Bo Burnham, New York Times, "Review: All the Feels, Hurts and Laughs of ‘Eighth Grade’," 11 July 2018 This should be a happy moment full of promise, but there is an air of dread hanging over the entire cast. refinery29.com, "Does Glow Season 2 Actually Have A Happy Ending?," 29 June 2018 The Ugly The existential dread of an ever-expanding hole gobbling up the entire world. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Donut County lets you become one with nothingness," 27 Aug. 2018 From the opening frames (the words of a newspaper obituary), director Ari Aster, in a tremendous feature debut, ratchets up the tension and the dread. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Here are the best movies of 2018 (so far)," 11 July 2018 But even as the acclaimed first season chugged along, the slow dread that set in wasn’t solely one of social despair — it was based in the realization that the series, which had been quickly renewed for another season, might be running out of story. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, "‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Is Brutal and Not Much Else," 11 July 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.

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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

Middle English dreden, from Old English drǣdan

Noun

see dread entry 1

Adjective

see dread entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near dread

dray horse

drayman

Drayton

dread

dreaddour

dreadful

dreadingly

Statistics for dread

Last Updated

26 Nov 2018

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)

: 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

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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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