- to fill, especially suddenly, with fear or terror; frighten; alarm.
- to become frightened: That horse scares easily.
- a sudden fright or alarm, especially with little or no reason.
- a time or condition of alarm or worry: For three months there was a war scare.
- scare up, Informal. to obtain with effort; find or gather: to scare up money.
Origin of scare
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for scare
“Cultures” Versus “White Girls” As you can probably sense from my scare quotes, you can never be too careful these days.Solange Smacks Jay Z, Legolas Slaps Bieber, and the Biggest Celebrity Feuds of the Year
December 24, 2014
Mrs. Deshales ordered an ambulance, which managed to scare off Wahlberg and his pals.Mark Wahlberg’s Pardon Plea: A Look Back At His Troubling, Violent, and Racist Rap Sheet
December 7, 2014
As we have seen, it is not just the fact that they scare people.Does Free Speech Cover Murder Fantasies? The Supreme Court’s Definition of a ‘Threat’
Geoffrey R. Stone
December 1, 2014
Keep the scare quotes around gay “marriage,” or at least put an asterisk after it.RFRA Madness: What’s Next for Anti-Democratic ‘Religious Exemptions’
November 16, 2014
An HIV scare, Rand Paul talking points, and a (maybe) proposition.My Bizarre Night With James Deen, Libertarian Porn Star
November 12, 2014
What's any of them little haythen been coin' to scare ye, missy?Her Father's Daughter
You've played jokes on her, and told her things to scare her—and my grief!
I just know he's a cowardy-cat, because he's always trying to scare ME.
With Mr. Morris at the front end of that log, there's no hope of scare.Southern Lights and Shadows
Not just because I was frightened, it wasn't so simple as a scare.The Harbor
- to fill or be filled with fear or alarm
- (tr; often foll by away or off) to drive (away) by frightening
- (tr) US and Canadian informal (foll by up)
- to produce (a meal) quickly from whatever is available
- to manage to find (something) quickly or with difficultybrewers need to scare up more sales
- a sudden attack of fear or alarm
- a period of general fear or alarm
- causing (needless) fear or alarma scare story
Word Origin and History for scare
1590s, alteration of Middle English skerren (c.1200), from Old Norse skirra "to frighten; to shrink from, shun; to prevent, avert," related to skjarr "timid, shy, afraid of," of unknown origin. In Scottish also skair, skar, and in dialectal English skeer, skear, which seems to preserve the older pronunciation. To scare up "procure, obtain" is first recorded 1846, American English, from notion of rousing game from cover. Related: Scared; scaring.
"something that frightens; sudden panic, sudden terror inspired by a trifling cause, false alarm," 1520s, alteration of Middle English sker "fear, dread" (c.1400), from scare (v.). Scare tactic attested from 1948.