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Idioms about dare

    on a dare, in response to being challenged to attempt something dangerous or bold: She scaled the wall on a dare.

Origin of dare

First recorded before 900; Middle English dar (verb), Old English dear(r), 1st and 3rd person singular present indicative of durran; akin to Old High German gitarran

synonym study for dare

1. Dare, venture imply involvement in risks and dangers. Dare emphasizes the state of mind that makes one willing to meet danger: He dared to do what he knew was right. Venture emphasizes the act of doing something that involves risk: He ventured into deep water.


dar·er, nounre·dare, verb (used with object), re·dared, re·dar·ing.un·dared, adjective

Other definitions for dare (2 of 3)

[ dair ]
/ dɛər /

Vir·gin·ia [ver-jin-yuh], /vərˈdʒɪn yə/, 1587–?, daughter of Lost Colony settlers, the first child born in the Americas to English parents.

Other definitions for dare (3 of 3)


Dictionary of American Regional English.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does dare mean?

While the word dare is used widely and variously for bold behavior, a dare popularly refers to a silly or risky challenge a person is compelled to do as part of children’s games.

What are some other forms of dare?

double dare

What are some other words related to dare?

  • truth or dare
  • game on

Where does dare come from?

The word dare generally means “to have the courage or boldness for something.” It can be positive (She dared to venture into outer space) or negative (Don’t you dare eat the last cookie!)

The verb dare is found in Old English, with the noun form, a “challenge” or “defiance,” coming in the 1500s.

Children popularly egg each other on to do a dare—or more tauntingly, the double dare. This is when a friend urges another to do something slightly dangerous or humiliating, sometimes as a prank (e.g., I dare you to ding-dong-ditch the neighbor’s house). Your friend doesn’t want to do it? Then double-dog dare them. This pastime inspired the 1980–90s Nickelodeon show Double Dare involving trivia and slimy, physical challenges.

And then there’s the game truth or dare, where players take turns challenging each other to answer personal or difficult questions (truth) or do an unpleasant task (dare). The term truth or dare has been dated to at least the 1930s, though forms of the game run back centuries. As early as the 1600s, for instance, children played a similar game called questions and commands.

These dares are not to be confused with D.A.R.E. In 1983, the school-based drug education program D.A.R.E., short for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, which started in Los Angeles and spread around the U.S. and U.K. Its “don’t do drugs” approach has been criticized over the decades for limited effectiveness, but in the 2010s D.A.R.E. revamped its curriculum to address concerns.

How is dare used in real life?

As noted, dare can be a noun or verb as well as refer to positive or negative actions, often for dramatic or humorous effect.

Children may challenge one another to dicey or goofy dares—with only their integrity at stake if they chicken out. Young adults may play truth or dare up late at sleepovers.

Dare also appears in a number of set phrases. The more old-fashioned-sounding Dare I say or I dare say preface a provocative or critical statement (Dare I say that dress is a little flashy?).

I dare you can be issued as a challenge, sometimes menacingly (Go ahead and try me. I dare you) or playfully (Name me something better than cheese. I dare you).

Daring to do something, to circle back to where we began, is usually admired, as it takes courage to try something dangerous, groundbreaking, or life-changing.

More examples of dare:

“After mocking one of the actor’s stunts on the Late Late show, Tom challenged the chat show host to do a skydive. It was a dare that couldn’t be ignored, so after a bit of training and with a camera team in tow, that’s what James did.”

—BBC, July 2018

How to use dare in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dare

/ (dɛə) /

(tr) to challenge (a person to do something) as proof of courage
(can take an infinitive with or without to) to be courageous enough to try (to do something)she dares to dress differently from the others; you wouldn't dare!
(tr) rare to oppose without fear; defy
I dare say or I daresay
  1. (it is) quite possible (that)
  2. probably: used as sentence substitute
a challenge to do something as proof of courage
something done in response to such a challenge

Derived forms of dare

darer, noun

Word Origin for dare

Old English durran; related to Old High German turran to venture

usage for dare

When used negatively or interrogatively, dare does not usually add -s: he dare not come; dare she come? When used negatively in the past tense, however, dare usually adds -d: he dared not come
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