dread

1 of 3

verb

dreaded; dreading; dreads

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

dread

2 of 3

noun

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 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 dreadF. W. Saunders
3
a
: dreadlock sense 1
trimming each dread
b
dreads plural : dreadlock sense 2
looked great in dreads

dread

3 of 3

adjective

1
: causing great fear or anxiety
dread diseases
2
: inspiring awe
our dread king
Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
With summer well underway in Milwaukee, some students are already dreading next year's early school mornings. Kathryn Muchnick, Journal Sentinel, 26 June 2024 And while the rage and dread inherent on Mercy remain, Cale sounds wearier and more resigned in his anger. David Harris, SPIN, 26 June 2024
Noun
This is gripping stuff that steadily cranks up its nightmarish feeling of dread. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 July 2024 Feelings of guilt for not feeling excited as the trip gets closer, but instead increasing feelings of dread. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 4 July 2024
Adjective
Instead, a different sense of dread creeps in, the nagging feeling that Ada does not belong to them. Dennis Perkins and Chris Bellamy, EW.com, 5 July 2024 Students in the program report and photograph stories under the guidance of professional journalists Going to school is something a lot of kids dread. Jazmine Heredia, The Mercury News, 24 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for dread 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dread.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb, Noun, and Adjective

Middle English dreden, from Old English drǣdan

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near dread

Cite this Entry

“Dread.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dread. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

dread

1 of 3 verb
1
: to fear greatly
2
: to be very unwilling to meet or face

dread

2 of 3 noun
1
a
: great fear especially in the face of approaching harm
b
archaic : awe entry 1
2
: one causing fear or awe

dread

3 of 3 adjective
: causing great fear or anxiety
a dread disease

More from Merriam-Webster on dread

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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