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 Some see this as beautiful, while others see this is fearful. Cindy Gordon, Forbes, 26 Sep. 2021 Rather than be fearful, invest in some fix-to-float bonds. Marilyn Cohen, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021 There’s only danger in trying to please people and taking measured steps and being fearful. Chris Willman, Variety, 16 Sep. 2021 Others were fearful for Afghan friends left behind. New York Times, 16 Aug. 2021 The years since have been a life of constant movement, of being unable to work, of always being fearful. Cyril Vanier And Jo Shelley, CNN, 15 Aug. 2021 Some believe that some people are fearful and don’t want to work in the industry because of COVID. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 July 2021 Black residents of Boston greeted Tuesday’s preliminary election with a mix of excitement and trepidation, hopeful that a Black candidate would move into the general election but also fearful that this historic opportunity would pass by. BostonGlobe.com, 14 Sep. 2021 That has left dozens of the orchestra’s members in limbo and fearful for the future. Michael R. Gordon, WSJ, 10 Sep. 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

11 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fearful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fearful. Accessed 18 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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