Synonym Chooser

How is the word afraid different from other adjectives like it?

The words apprehensive and fearful are common synonyms of afraid. While all three words mean "disturbed by fear," afraid often suggests weakness or cowardice and regularly implies inhibition of action or utterance.

afraid to speak the truth

When is it sensible to use apprehensive instead of afraid?

The words apprehensive and afraid are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, apprehensive suggests a state of mind and implies a premonition of evil or danger.

apprehensive of being found out

When can fearful be used instead of afraid?

The meanings of fearful and afraid largely overlap; however, fearful implies often a timorous or worrying temperament.

the child is fearful of loud noises

Thesaurus Entries Near afraid

Cite this Entry

“Afraid.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on afraid

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