fearful

adjective fear·ful \ ˈfir-fəl \
Updated on: 5 Dec 2017

Definition of fearful

1 : causing or likely to cause fear, fright, or alarm especially because of dangerous quality
  • a fearful storm
2 a : 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 waste
  • fearful slum conditions

fearfully

play \ˈfir-f(ə-)lē\ adverb

fearfulness

play \ˈfir-fəl-nəs\ noun

Examples of fearful in a Sentence

  1. He plays the role of a timid and fearful clerk.

  2. They won the war but at a fearful cost.

Recent Examples of fearful from the Web

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.

First Known Use of fearful

14th century

Synonym Discussion of 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

FEARFUL Defined for English Language Learners

fearful

adjective

Definition of fearful for English Language Learners

  • : feeling fear

  • : showing or caused by fear

  • : very bad or extreme


FEARFUL Defined for Kids

fearful

adjective fear·ful \ ˈfir-fəl \

Definition of fearful for Students

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

fearfully

\-fə-lē\ adverb

fearfulness

noun


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