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

Nobody wearing a Jeb(!) fleece is going to get fearful, horrified looks. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "How the MAGA Hat Became a Symbol of Hate," 31 Jan. 2019 Many of the nation’s most prominent anti-corruption advocates are fearful of a López Obrador presidency, worried that their nascent movement will be all but frozen out of the discussion. New York Times, "The Firebrand Leftist Far Ahead in Mexico’s Presidential Polls," 29 June 2018 Davis said the encounter has continued to leave her fearful, weeks later. Elizabeth Chuck /, NBC News, "Target fires manager after black woman says she was racially profiled," 5 June 2018 So a lot of the songs are about sitting there by yourself, being fearful about what the hell's going on. Gary Graff, Billboard, "The Walkmen's Walter Martin Shares 'Ride Down the Avenue,' a Positive Midlife Crisis Song," 10 Jan. 2018 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

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

3 Jun 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

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