\ ˈsker-ē \
scarier; scariest

Definition of scary 

1 : causing fright : alarming a scary story
2 : easily scared : timid
3 : feeling alarm or fright : frightened

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Other Words from scary

scarily \ ˈsker-​ə-​lē \ adverb

Examples of scary in a Sentence

a scary movie that gave the child nightmares for weeks afterwards a scary horse who spooked and kicked at its own shadow

Recent Examples on the Web

The Ponte Morandi bridge is already a scary drive on a good day, with traffic coming in hard and fast through a viaduct, rising some 300 feet above a railway line, a riverbed, and an industrial portion of the port city of Genoa. Laura Dannen Redman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Genoa's Ponte Morandi Bridge Collapses, Killing 22," 14 Aug. 2018 Nothing is scarier than a wealthy man with connections looking to cause some major damage. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "A Comprehensive List of All of Hiram Lodge's Schemes on "Riverdale"," 13 Dec. 2018 That certainly sounds scary—greater destruction to our democratic institutions than we’ve even imagined! James Freeman, WSJ, "Clinton, Trump and Authoritarianism," 19 Sep. 2018 That should sound scary to anybody with passing knowledge of gaming history. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Nvidia RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti review: A tale of two very expensive graphics cards," 19 Sep. 2018 Andrew Das: Nothing says scary moment in a knockout game than a Sweden defender slipping, falling, and turning the ball over in the first minute. The Associated Press, New York Times, "Sweden Makes World Cup Quarterfinals for First Time Since 1994," 5 July 2018 As threats to a fun Saturday afternoon go, which is scarier — a sober shark or a drunk guy spearfishing near swimmers that included kids? David J. Neal, miamiherald, "The beach swimming area had children. And a guy spearfishing, Keys cops say," 24 June 2018 There was a scary moment for the Saudi Arabian soccer team at the World Cup in Russia. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "An engine caught fire on Saudi Arabia's team plane while landing at World Cup," 19 June 2018 For the 40-plus million Americans with student debt, that sounds scary. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What do Fed interest rate hikes mean for student loans?," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scary.' 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 scary

1582, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near scary

scar tissue







Statistics for scary

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scary

The first known use of scary was in 1582

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More Definitions for scary



English Language Learners Definition of scary

: causing fear


\ ˈsker-ē \
scarier; scariest

Kids Definition of scary

: causing fright a scary movie

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More from Merriam-Webster on scary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scary

Spanish Central: Translation of scary

Nglish: Translation of scary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scary for Arabic Speakers

Comments on scary

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


involving abstract or general statements

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