\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 thought of taking him out of the house was scary. Melody Chiu,, "From Elopement to Baby Within a Year! Jordin Sparks and Dana Isaiah's Son DJ Has 'Bonded' the Newlyweds," 28 June 2018 Exploring Virginia from the sky was breathtaking but also kind of scary. Becca Kufrin,, "Bachelorette Becca Kufrin on That 'Embarrassing' Group Date — and Falling for One 'Standup Man'," 9 July 2018 Some are scarier, meriting check-ins to the hospital or legal wranglings. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "A Cruise-on-Cruise Crash Reveals the Hardest Thing About Self-Driving Tech," 3 July 2018 Plunking down so much money is scary, but the investment proved worth it from our first night in the field. Aaron Gulley, Outside Online, "Contemplating Solar for Your Road Rig? Do It Already," 6 June 2018 Remember when that scary animated movie, 9, came out the same year as this Nine? Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Speaking of ‘Life Itself,’ Here Are 5 Bad Movies With Great Casts," 10 July 2018 Here's what happened: The SWAT surprise People on JetBlue flight 1623 got a scary surprise Tuesday night when an armed SWAT team unexpectedly came on board. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "Tuesday Was a Crazy Day for Air Travel," 27 June 2018 More than one person has blamed their nightmares on watching a scary movie late at night. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "Do You Dream in Internet? Don’t Freak Out," 23 June 2018 By then there will be new scary movies being promoted. Joe Dziemianowicz, ajc, "Families shocked by horror-movie trailer before ‘Peter Rabbit’," 29 Apr. 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

19 Oct 2018

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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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