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

And best of all, returned from vacations without dreading the life waiting for me at home. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Traveling Sober Changed the Way I Saw the World," 10 July 2019 Signet’s superiority derived, in large part, from the quality of its paper stock, which was whiter and brighter than that of its competitors and without any dreaded see-through. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, "In praise of pretty books," 14 Aug. 2019 The same could be said for his neighbors, who had dreaded the idea of some 50,000 concertgoers rocking out in their backyard. Ray Cavanaugh, Time, "Max Yasgur Rented Out His Farm for Woodstock. His Neighbors Sued Him," 14 Aug. 2019 The long arm of the law, which criminals dreaded, also reached to prune apple trees and pick a fruit or two. The Economist, "Obituary: Robert Morgenthau died on July 21st," 1 Aug. 2019 The nation’s hopes and dreads were attached to Mueller. Marc Fisher, Anchorage Daily News, "ANALYSIS: On Mueller’s final day on the national stage, a halting, faltering performance," 25 July 2019 Attention all those who have pounded the steering wheel while stuck in dreaded Interstate 70 ski traffic: Here comes the bus. John Meyer, The Know, "Skip ski traffic for cheap: CDOT adds bus service to ski areas, Rocky Mountain National Park," 25 July 2019 James Fishkin, the Stanford political scientist and communications scholar who had organized the event, held in June, on the campus of the University of Houston, had dreaded it, too. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "What Happens When a Group of Strangers Spends a Day Debating Immigration?," 23 July 2019 The scenario is one every prosecutor dreads: the death of a key witness. Jamie Hancock, Dallas News, "Ads target Cruz, 'anti-gay' lawmakers; D-FW could decide who runs the Texas House; Dallas council member's death," 18 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Anxiety and existential dread in some, near panic in others. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, "How the Mueller report became a live-theater summer sensation," 20 July 2019 The notion of man as intrinsically irreparable carries with it a chilling dread. Kyle Smith, National Review, "How Batman Begins Changed the Movies," 19 July 2019 But when a much larger 7.1 magnitude temblor struck Friday night, the shock quickly gave way to a newfound dread: What’s next? Times Staff, latimes.com, "PHOTOS: 6.4 and 7.1 earthquakes rattle Southern California," 8 July 2019 But when a much larger 7.1 magnitude temblor struck Friday night, the shock quickly gave way to a newfound dread: What’s next? Times Staff, San Diego Union-Tribune, "PHOTOS: 6.4 and 7.1 earthquakes rattle Southern California," 8 July 2019 But as Emma noted, this is no time for existential dread about the modern game. Matt Martell, SI.com, "Home Run Derby Tracker: Updates, Highlights and Analysis From the Dinger Show," 8 July 2019 The endless chores and monotony of caring for small children, punctuated by adrenaline spikes that emanate from a constant, creeping dread. Alexandra Alter, New York Times, "What to Expect When You’re Expecting Evil," 6 July 2019 Heavily doused in religious imagery, the show explores themes of depression and existential dread. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "Neon Genesis Evangelion is heading to Netflix," 27 Nov. 2018 It’s taken me a while to get back into the cooking groove after a solid few months of eating out—and falling into a funk of existential dread at the hellscape the world is becoming. Jesse Sparks, Bon Appetit, "This Queer Cooking Show Reinvigorated My Pride in Home Cooking," 22 June 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, 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

20 Aug 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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