1

dread

play
verb \ ˈdred \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of dread

transitive verb
1 a :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

Examples of dread in a Sentence

  1. He can't swim and dreads going in the water.

  2. She dreaded making speeches in front of large audiences.

  3. I dread the day I will have to leave my friends.

  4. I dread the thought of moving next week.

  5. I dread to think about what they might do next.

Recent Examples of dread from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of dread

Middle English dreden, from Old English drǣdan


2

dread

noun

Definition of dread

1 a :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 1prospect 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
3 a :dreadlock 1
  • trimming each dread
b dreads plural :dreadlock 2
  • looked great in dreads

Examples of dread in a Sentence

  1. She has a dread of failure.

  2. He lives with the constant dread of rejection.

  3. She awaited her punishment with dread.

  4. The news about the war fills me with dread.

  5. They live in constant dread of another attack.

Recent Examples of dread from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of dread

see 1dread

Synonym Discussion of dread

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

3

dread

adjective

Definition of dread

1 :causing great fear or anxiety
  • dread diseases
2 :inspiring awe
  • our dread king

Examples of dread in a Sentence

  1. every ship on the Spanish Main was terrified of running into the dread pirate

Origin and Etymology of dread

see 1dread


DREAD Defined for English Language Learners

dread

play
verb

Definition of dread for English Language Learners

  • : to fear something that will or might happen


dread

noun

Definition of dread for English Language Learners

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

  • : a person or thing that causes fear


dread

adjective

Definition of dread for English Language Learners

  • : causing great fear


DREAD Defined for Kids

1

dread

play
verb \ ˈdred \

Definition of dread for Students

dreaded; dreading
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.

2

dread

noun

Definition of dread for Students

: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

3

dread

adjective

Definition of dread for Students

:causing great fear or anxiety
  • a dread disease


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

of yeast or being unsettled or frivolous

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!