afraid

[uh-freyd]

adjective

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.

Nearby words

  1. afp,
  2. afr,
  3. afr-,
  4. afr.,
  5. afraes,
  6. afraid of one's own shadow,
  7. aframerican,
  8. afrasia,
  9. afrasian,
  10. afreet

Origin of afraid

variant spelling of affrayed, past participle of affray to disturb, frighten

Related formshalf-a·fraid, adjectiveun·a·fraid, adjective

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.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for afraid


British Dictionary definitions for afraid

afraid

adjective (postpositive)

(often foll by of) feeling fear or apprehension; frightenedhe was afraid of cats
reluctant (to do something), as through fear or timidityhe was afraid to let himself go
(often foll by that; used to lessen the effect of an unpleasant statement) regretfulI'm afraid that I shall have to tell you to go

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for afraid

afraid

adj.

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