fear·​some | \ ˈfir-səm How to pronounce fearsome (audio) \

Definition of fearsome

1a : causing fear a fearsome monster
b : intense, extreme fearsome determination

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from fearsome

fearsomely adverb
fearsomeness noun

Examples of fearsome in a Sentence

at night the child would always imagine that there were fearsome monsters lurking under his bed after working all afternoon in the hot sun, I had developed a fearsome thirst

Recent Examples on the Web

Gyllenhaal makes him a haunting, hollow-eyed revenant—he is changed in at least one respect, having learned all too well the fearsome power of fire. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Wildlife’ Review: A Family’s Ardent, Troubled Heart," 18 Oct. 2018 There’s nothing terribly fearsome about James Harden going to the free-throw line 118 times a night. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors-Rockets matchup to watch: Draymond Green-Clint Capela," 11 May 2018 But the Mets are stuck with their biggest problem: their home ballpark, the most fearsome obstacle in all of baseball. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Even the Mets’ Home Stadium Is Mocking Them," 3 Apr. 2019 The defense, aside from surrendering one fearsome second-half flurry, made the Tar Heels (19-5, 9-2) work for just about everything while keeping them out of transition. Aaron Beard, The Seattle Times, "Guy, No. 4 Virginia rally past No. 8 North Carolina 69-61," 12 Feb. 2019 Thanks largely to their efforts, ISIS in Syria has gone from a fearsome juggernaut to a ragged band of die-hards trapped in a shrinking patch of wasteland. Tommy Meyerson, WSJ, "The Cost of Betraying Syria’s Kurds," 20 Dec. 2018 Braveheart features the Battle of Stirling, where the Scots used long spears to disable fearsome English cavalry. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "'Outlaw King' vs. 'Braveheart': Which Movie Gets Scotland Right?," 13 Nov. 2018 The Liverpool forward -- part of a fearsome front line alongside Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino -- expects Bambali to grind to a halt as the 2,000 inhabitants all stop to watch him play in the European showpiece. Afp, chicagotribune.com, "Mane sends 300 Liverpool jerseys to home village in Senegal," 25 May 2018 Drum lines, which use baited hooks to catch the fearsome predators, ensnared five tiger sharks, one which was 12 feet long, Queensland authorites said. Fox News, "Six sharks killed after attack on swimmers near Great Barrier Reef," 24 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fearsome.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of fearsome

1768, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fearsome

fear entry 1 + -some entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fearsome

Statistics for fearsome

Last Updated

6 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fearsome

The first known use of fearsome was in 1768

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fearsome



English Language Learners Definition of fearsome

: causing fear : very frightening


fear·​some | \ ˈfir-səm How to pronounce fearsome (audio) \

Kids Definition of fearsome

: very frightening a fearsome growl

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on fearsome

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fearsome

Spanish Central: Translation of fearsome

Nglish: Translation of fearsome for Spanish Speakers

Comments on fearsome

What made you want to look up fearsome? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!