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 safetyb : indicating or arising from fear a fearful glancec : inclined to fear : timorous
3 : very great or bad —used as an intensive a fearful waste fearful slum conditions
fearfullyplay \ˈfir-f(ə-)lē\ adverb
fearfulnessplay \ˈfir-fəl-nəs\ noun
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 of fearful from the Web
The feuding cousins are extremely combative, making statements so cruel and yet ironic that the audience can't help but laugh while being fearful that the cousins won't start to physically beat each other.
Initially supportive Conservative-party leaders, fearful of losing their livelihood, blocked my name from their ballot.
Plaintiff's lawyers on behalf of the victim's daughters and her estate argued that the deputies failed to protect Melinda Van Patten, who was fearful of her husband, by not arresting him on May 26, 2013.
But pets who are fearful of fireworks can respond with full-blown panic, jumping through windows or over fences in a frenzied attempt to escape the scary sounds.
Huffstickler is fearful of Republicans’ health care changes.
My wife was a little fearful after all the threats and stuff.
Huffstickler is fearful of Republicans’ health-care changes.
Ms. Huffstickler is fearful of Republicans’ health care changes.
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
Synonym Discussion of fearful
FEARFUL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of fearful for English Language Learners
: feeling fear
: showing or caused by fear
: very bad or extreme
FEARFUL Defined for Kids
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
Seen and Heard
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