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fear

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verb

Synonym Chooser

How is the word fear distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of fear are alarm, dread, fright, panic, terror, and trepidation. While all these words mean "painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger," fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually loss of courage.

fear of the unknown

When might alarm be a better fit than fear?

The words alarm and fear are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, alarm suggests a sudden and intense awareness of immediate danger.

view the situation with alarm

In what contexts can dread take the place of fear?

The synonyms dread and fear are sometimes interchangeable, but dread usually adds the idea of intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety.

faced the meeting with dread

Where would fright be a reasonable alternative to fear?

While the synonyms fright and fear are close in meaning, fright implies the shock of sudden, startling fear.

fright at being awakened suddenly

When can panic be used instead of fear?

The words panic and fear can be used in similar contexts, but panic implies unreasoning and overmastering fear causing hysterical activity.

the news caused widespread panic

When is terror a more appropriate choice than fear?

In some situations, the words terror and fear are roughly equivalent. However, terror implies the most extreme degree of fear.

immobilized with terror

How are the words trepidation and dread related as synonyms of fear?

Trepidation adds to dread the implications of timidity, trembling, and hesitation.

raised the subject with trepidation

Thesaurus Entries Near fear

Cite this Entry

“Fear.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/fear. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

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