[ uh-freyd ]
See synonyms for afraid on
  1. feeling fear; filled with apprehension: afraid to go.

  2. feeling regret, unhappiness, or the like: I'm afraid we can't go on Monday.

  1. 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

synonym study For afraid

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.

Other words for afraid

Opposites for afraid

Other words from afraid

  • half-a·fraid, adjective
  • un·a·fraid, adjective

Words Nearby afraid Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use afraid in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for afraid


/ (əˈfreɪd) /

  1. (often foll by of) feeling fear or apprehension; frightened: he was afraid of cats

  2. reluctant (to do something), as through fear or timidity: he was afraid to let himself go

  1. (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

Origin of afraid

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