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verb (used with object)
  1. to fear greatly; be in extreme apprehension of: to dread death.
  2. to be reluctant to do, meet, or experience: I dread going to big parties.
  3. Archaic. to hold in respectful awe.
verb (used without object)
  1. to be in great fear.
  1. terror or apprehension as to something in the future; great fear.
  2. a person or thing dreaded.
  3. dreads, Informal. dreadlocks.
  4. Informal. a person who wears dreadlocks.w
  5. Archaic. deep awe or reverence.
  1. greatly feared; frightful; terrible.
  2. held in awe or reverential fear.

Origin of dread

1125–75; Middle English dreden (v.), Old English drǣdan, aphetic variant of adrǣdan, ondrǣdan; cognate with Old High German intrātan to fear
Related formsdread·a·ble, adjectivedread·ness, nounpre·dread, noun, verb (used with object)un·dread·ed, adjectiveun·dread·ing, adjective

Synonyms for dread

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5. See fear. 10. dire, dreadful, horrible.

Antonyms for dread

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for dreaded

apprehend, tremble, shudder, quake, fear, cringe, misdoubt

Examples from the Web for dreaded

Contemporary Examples of dreaded

Historical Examples of dreaded

British Dictionary definitions for dreaded


verb (tr)
  1. to anticipate with apprehension or terror
  2. to fear greatly
  3. archaic to be in awe of
  1. great fear; horror
  2. an object of terror
  3. slang a Rastafarian
  4. archaic deep reverence
  1. literary awesome; awe-inspiring

Word Origin for dread

Old English ondrǣdan; related to Old Saxon antdrādan, Old High German intrātan
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 dreaded



late 12c., a shortening of Old English adrædan, contraction of ondrædan "counsel or advise against," also "to dread, fear, be afraid," from on- "against" + rædan "to advise" (see read (v.)). Cognate of Old Saxon andradon, Old High German intraten. Related: Dreaded; dreading. As a noun from 12c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper