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[uh-freyd] /əˈfreɪd/
feeling fear; filled with apprehension:
afraid to go.
feeling regret, unhappiness, or the like:
I'm afraid we can't go on Monday.
feeling reluctance, unwillingness, distaste, or the like:
He seemed afraid to show his own children a little kindness.
Origin of afraid
variant spelling of affrayed, past participle of affray to disturb, frighten
Related forms
half-afraid, adjective
unafraid, adjective
1. scared, fearful, disquieted, apprehensive, timid, timorous.
1. bold, confident, fearless.
Synonym Study
1. Afraid, alarmed, frightened, terrified all indicate a state of fear. Afraid implies inner apprehensive disquiet: afraid of the dark. Alarmed implies that the feelings are aroused through realization of some imminent or unexpected danger to oneself or others: alarmed by (or about) someone's illness. Frightened means shocked with sudden, but usually short-lived, fear, especially that arising from apprehension of physical harm: frightened by an accident. Terrified suggests the emotional reaction when one is struck with a violent, overwhelming fear: terrified by an earthquake. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unafraid
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Calm, wondering, unafraid, the stranger enters the family circle.

    Concerning Children Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Instinctively now they knew her unafraid, and they did not venture to badger her.

    The Torch Bearer I. T. Thurston
  • Summer was departing with reluctant feet, unafraid of Winter's messengers, the chill winds.

    Letters of a Woman Homesteader Elinore Pruitt Stewart
  • He, on the other hand, being the fastest-footed, was unafraid to venture anywhere.

    White Fang Jack London
  • He was evidently not only unafraid of them, but genuinely indifferent to them.

    The Mystery Stewart Edward White and Samuel Hopkins Adams
British Dictionary definitions for unafraid


adjective (postpositive) often foll by of
not frightened: unafraid to break new ground


adjective (postpositive)
(often foll by of) feeling fear or apprehension; frightened: he was afraid of cats
reluctant (to do something), as through fear or timidity: he was afraid to let himself go
often foll by that; used to lessen the effect of an unpleasant statement. regretful: I'm afraid that I shall have to tell you to go
Word Origin
C14: affraied, past participle of affray (to frighten)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unafraid

early 15c., from un- (1) "not" + afraid.



early 14c., originally past participle of afray "frighten," from Anglo-French afrayer, from Old French esfreer (see affray (n.)). A rare case of an English adjective that never stands before a noun. Because it was used in A.V. Bible, it acquired independent standing and thrived while affray faded, chasing out the once more common afeared. Sense in I'm afraid "I regret to say, I suspect" (without implication of fear) is first recorded 1590s.

Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone [Keats, "The Eve of St. Agnes," 1820]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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