fearful

adjective
fear·​ful | \ ˈfir-fəl How to pronounce fearful (audio) \

Definition of fearful

1 : causing or likely to cause fear, fright, or alarm especially because of dangerous quality a fearful storm
2a : full of fear fearful for his safety
b : indicating or arising from fear a fearful glance
c : inclined to fear : timorous
3 : very great or bad used as an intensive a fearful wastefearful slum conditions

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Other Words from fearful

fearfully \ ˈfir-​f(ə-​)lē How to pronounce fearful (audio) \ adverb
fearfulness \ ˈfir-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce fearful (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for fearful

fearful, apprehensive, afraid mean disturbed by fear. fearful implies often a timorous or worrying temperament. the child is fearful of loud noises apprehensive suggests a state of mind and implies a premonition of evil or danger. apprehensive of being found out afraid often suggests weakness or cowardice and regularly implies inhibition of action or utterance. afraid to speak the truth

Examples of fearful in a Sentence

He plays the role of a timid and fearful clerk. They won the war but at a fearful cost.
Recent Examples on the Web Suns fans are fearful that history is repeating itself with the current contract impasse between the team and center DeAndre Ayton. Kent Somers, The Arizona Republic, 16 Oct. 2021 Many spoke only on the condition of anonymity, fearful that discussing their experiences with COVAX openly could harm their relationships with the organization. Olivia Goldhill, STAT, 11 Oct. 2021 But some of the clinics’ 17 physicians were still declining to perform abortions, fearful they might be held liable despite the judge’s order. Paul J. Weber, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Oct. 2021 But some of the clinics’ 17 physicians were still declining to perform abortions, fearful they might be held liable despite the judge’s order. BostonGlobe.com, 9 Oct. 2021 During the brief period the law was on hold, many Texas physicians remained unwilling to perform abortions, fearful that doing so could still leave them in legal jeopardy. Paul J. Weber, chicagotribune.com, 9 Oct. 2021 Some Republicans worry that the suburban voters Youngkin needs to win over are fearful enough of covid’s impact that they’ll be alienated by a candidate who opposes mask and vaccine mandates. Washington Post, 9 Oct. 2021 But some of the clinics' 17 physicians were still declining to perform abortions, fearful they might be held liable despite the judge's order. Arkansas Online, 8 Oct. 2021 Some officials spoke to us on the condition of anonymity, fearful that openly discussing their experiences with Covax could harm their relationships with the organization. Olivia Goldhill, Quartz, 8 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fearful.' 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 fearful

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fearful

Middle English feerful, fereful "inspiring dread, frightened," from fer fear entry 1 + -ful -ful entry 1

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Time Traveler for fearful

Time Traveler

The first known use of fearful was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near fearful

fear for one's/someone's life

fearful

fearless

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Statistics for fearful

Last Updated

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fearful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fearful. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for fearful

fearful

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of fearful

: feeling fear
: showing or caused by fear
: very bad or extreme

fearful

adjective
fear·​ful | \ ˈfir-fəl How to pronounce fearful (audio) \

Kids Definition of fearful

1 : causing fear the fearful roar of a lion
2 : filled with fear I was fearful of failing the test.
3 : showing or caused by fear a fearful expression

Other Words from fearful

fearfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb
fearfulness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on fearful

Nglish: Translation of fearful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fearful for Arabic Speakers

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