Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of fear
Meaning of fear by Wiktionary Dictionary



    • ( Australia ) IPA: /fiə/, X-SAMPA: /fi@/
    • ( UK ) IPA: /fɪə/, X-SAMPA: /fI@/
    • ( US ) IPA: /fɪr/, X-SAMPA: /fir/
    • Rhymes: -ɪə( r )

    Etymology 1

    From Middle English feer, fere, fer, from Old English fǣr, ġefǣr ( “calamity, sudden danger, peril, sudden attack, terrible sight” ), from Proto-Germanic *fēran ( “danger” ), from Proto-Indo-European *per- ( “to attempt, try, research, risk” ). Cognate with Dutch gevaar ( “danger, risk, peril” ), German Gefahr ( “danger, risk, hazard” ), Swedish fara ( “danger, risk, peril” ), Latin perīculum ( “danger, risk, trial” ). Albanian frikë ( “fear,danger” ) and Romanian frǐca ( “fear” ) are also cognates, although probably influenced by an early Germanic variant .


    fear ( countable and uncountable; plural: fears )

    1. ( uncountable ) A strong, uncontrollable, unpleasant emotion caused by actual or perceived danger or threat .
      He was struck by fear on seeing the snake .
    2. ( countable ) A phobia, a sense of fear induced by something or someone .
      Not everybody has the same fears .
      I have a fear of ants .
    3. ( uncountable ) Extreme veneration or awe, as toward a supreme being or deity .
    Derived terms

    Etymology 2

    From Middle English feren, from Old English fǣran ( “to frighten, raven” ), from Old English fǣr, ġefǣr ( “calamity, sudden danger, peril, sudden attack, terrible sight” ). See above .


    fear ( third-person singular simple present fears present participle fearing, simple past and past participle feared )

    1. ( obsolete, transitive ) To cause fear to; to frighten.
    2. ( transitive ) To feel fear about ( something ) .
      I fear the worst will happen .
    3. ( transitive ) To venerate; to feel awe towards .
      People who fear God can be found in Christian churches .
    4. ( transitive ) Regret
      I fear [regret that] I have bad news for you: your husband has died .
    Derived terms

    Etymology 3

    From Middle English fere, feore, from Old English fēre ( “able to go, fit for service” ), from Proto-Germanic *fōriz, *fōrjaz ( “passable” ), from Proto-Indo-European *per- ( “to put across, ferry” ). Cognate with Scots fere, feir ( “well, active, sound” ), Middle High German gevüere ( “able, capable, fit, serviceable” ), Swedish för ( “capable, able, stout” ), Icelandic færr ( “able” ). Related to fare .

    Alternative form


    fear ( comparative more fear, superlative most fear )

    1. ( dialectal ) Able; capable; stout; strong; sound .
      hale and fear



Explanation of fear by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. regard with feelings of respect and reverence

    2. Fear God as your father
    3. be afraid or scared of

    4. I fear the winters in Moscow
      We should not fear the Communists!
    5. be uneasy or apprehensive about

    6. I fear the results of the final exams
    7. be sorry

    8. I fear I won't make it to your wedding party
    9. be afraid or feel anxious or apprehensive about a possible or probable situation or event

    10. I fear she might get aggressive
    1. an emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger ( usually accompanied by a desire to flee or fight )

    2. a feeling of profound respect for someone or something

    3. the fear of God
    4. an anxious feeling

    5. they hushed it up out of fear of public reaction

    Definition of fear by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Fear ( fēr ), n. A variant of Fere, a mate, a companion. [Obs.] Spenser.

    2. Fear, n. [OE. fer, feer, fere, AS. fǣr a coming suddenly upon, fear, danger; akin to D. vaar, OHG. fāra danger, G. gefahr, Icel. fār harm, mischief, plague, and to E. fare, peril. See Fare.]
      1. A painful emotion or passion excited by the expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger; apprehension; anxiety; solicitude; alarm; dread.

      ☞ The degrees of this passion, beginning with the most moderate, may be thus expressed, -- apprehension, fear, dread, fright, terror.

      Fear is an uneasiness of the mind, upon the thought of future evil likely to befall us. Locke.

      Where no hope is left, is left no fear. Milton.

      2. ( Script. ) Apprehension of incurring, or solicitude to avoid, God's wrath; the trembling and awful reverence felt toward the Supreme Being. Respectful reverence for men of authority or worth.

      I will put my fear in their hearts. Jer. xxxii. 40.

      I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Ps. xxxiv. 11.

      Render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due . . . fear to whom fear. Rom. xiii. 7.

      3. That which causes, or which is the object of, apprehension or alarm; source or occasion of terror; danger; dreadfulness.

      There were they in great fear, where no fear was. Ps. liii. 5.

      The fear of your adventure would counsel you to a more equal enterprise. Shak.

      For fear, in apprehension lest. “For fear you ne'er see chain nor money more.” Shak.

    3. Fear, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Feared ( fērd ); p. pr. & vb. n. Fearing.] [OE. feren, faeren, to frighten, to be afraid, AS. fǣran to terrify. See Fear, n.]
      1. To feel a painful apprehension of; to be afraid of; to consider or expect with emotion of alarm or solicitude.

      I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Ps. xxiii. 4.

      With subordinate clause.

      I greatly fear my money is not safe. Shak.

      I almost fear to quit your hand. D. Jerrold.

      2. To have a reverential awe of; to be solicitous to avoid the displeasure of.

      Leave them to God above; him serve and fear. Milton.

      3. To be anxious or solicitous for; now replaced by fear for. [R.]

      The sins of the father are to be laid upon the children, therefore . . . I fear you. Shak.

      4. To suspect; to doubt. [Obs.]

      Ay what else, fear you not her courage? Shak.

      5. To affright; to terrify; to drive away or prevent approach of by fear. [Obs.]

      Fear their people from doing evil. Robynson ( More's Utopia ).

      Tush, tush! fear boys with bugs. Shak.

      Syn. -- To apprehend; dread; reverence; venerate.

    4. Fear, v. i. To be in apprehension of evil; to be afraid; to feel anxiety on account of some expected evil.

      I exceedingly fear and quake. Heb. xii. 21.

    5. Fere n. [OE. fere companion, AS. gefēra, from fēran to go, travel, faran to travel. √78. See Fare.] A mate or companion; -- often used of a wife. [Obs.] [Written also fear and feere.] Chaucer.

      And Cambel took Cambrina to his fere. Spenser.

      In fere, together; in company. [Obs.] Chaucer.