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 fearfully (audio) \ adverb
fearfulness \ ˈfir-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce fearfulness (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

There’s never any one reason why markets move or investors suddenly become extra fearful or optimistic. Emily Stewart, Vox, "What’s wrong with the stock market right now, explained," 18 Dec. 2018 So while domestic publication of the files was not at issue, Defense Distributed removed them all the same, fearful of facing criminal prosecution or a lawsuit. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "3D-printed (and CNC-milled) guns: Nine questions you were too afraid to ask," 5 Aug. 2018 People have been turned down for being fearful or clueless. Judith Newman, New York Times, "Committing to a Dog Is Hard. This Place Lets You Just Flirt.," 4 July 2018 But advocates looked at this new study on SNAP participation and saw even more reason to be fearful. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Study suggests Trump is scaring immigrant families off food stamps," 15 Nov. 2018 Many caught in the initial line of fire — U.S. farmers absorbing tariffs on their exports to China, for instance — are fearful. Author: Paul Wiseman, Josh Boakap, Anchorage Daily News, "US-China trade war elevates the risks to the global economy," 7 July 2018 Her fans are very excited, but fearful that Lady Gaga's A Star Is Born performance may beat her out (see the below tweet). Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Glenn Close Had the Sweetest Reaction to Her Oscar Nomination for Her Role in The Wife," 22 Jan. 2019 If his own siblings are fearful of the political implications, the ad begs us to ask, perhaps other voters should be wary of him, too? Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "How Campaign Ads Use Fear to Force Voters to React," 26 Oct. 2018 Trump’s advisers both inside and outside the White House urged the president not to attack Kavanaugh’s accuser, fearful of repercussions among the electorate. Catherine Lucey, The Seattle Times, "Trump praises Kavanaugh, says everyone will be heard out," 17 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for fearful

Last Updated

25 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fearful

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on fearful

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fearful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fearful

Spanish Central: Translation of fearful

Nglish: Translation of fearful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fearful for Arabic Speakers

Comments on fearful

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