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

Like most of us, William Murphy dreads calling health insurance companies. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "We Asked Prosecutors if Health Insurance Companies Care About Fraud. They Laughed at Us.," 10 Sep. 2019 Fans had been dreading the announcement that Phish made Tuesday, saying camping would not be permitted due to an outbreak of plague among the prairie dogs. Brian Ries, CNN, "Camping is canceled at Phish's Colorado concerts. Blame the plague-infected prairie dogs," 20 Aug. 2019 Fans had been dreading the announcement that Phish made Tuesday, saying camping would not be permitted due to an outbreak of plague among the prairie dogs. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "How can you be mad at a prairie dog? Well, Phish fans sure are," 20 Aug. 2019 Most mothers dread their children growing older — but Selma Blair is welcoming the inevitable with open arms. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "Selma Blair Shares Emotional Post About Her Son Getting Older Amid MS Journey: 'The Best It Gets'," 28 Aug. 2019 Most people dread their visits to the dentist’s office, but that’s the place UAB football called home for decades. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, "Down goes the worst college football facility in the country, a former dentist office," 10 Aug. 2019 The short focuses on the relationship between a Black father and daughter and the task many dads dread—doing their daughter’s hair. Sydney Scott, Essence, "The New Trailer For 'Power' Is All About Betrayal," 9 Aug. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Those pauses bloom with interpersonal meaning and a kind of dread. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "Experiments with Context in “Betrayal” and “Eureka Day”," 9 Sep. 2019 Though a rally has been sparked by news that the United States and China are still talking on trade, markets have not been able to shake a lingering sense of dread. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Today's US jobs report is a really big deal," 6 Sep. 2019 The style adds to the creeping dread of these scenes in a way that isn’t found in the manga. Michael Moore, The Verge, "The Best Anime of 2019: an ongoing list," 16 Aug. 2019 Last Sunday also found the Rev. Blair-Hubert shaking off her sense of dread. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Jumpy? In an anxious age, San Diegans feel the jitters," 11 Aug. 2019 There was a lot of dread in terms of coming back and picking up that weight again. New York Times, "Can ‘Succession’ Succeed Again?," 8 Aug. 2019 Trump's threats have left immigrants living in the United States illegally in a fog of dread, putting neighborhoods on edge and making residents fear venturing outside. Anchorage Daily News, "Fear of immigration raids looms as plans for ICE ‘family operation’ move forward," 6 July 2019 Trump’s threats have left immigrants living in the United States illegally in a fog of dread, putting neighborhoods on edge and making residents fear venturing outside. Washington Post, The Denver Post, "Fear of immigration raids looms as plans for ICE “family operation” move forward," 6 July 2019 Plus, all of the existential dread that comes with watching the ongoing decline of Felix Hernandez. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Hopelessness Index: Which MLB Teams Have the Bleakest Outlook?," 22 Aug. 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

17 Sep 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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