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

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

Antonyms for dread

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

Examples from the Web for dreads

Contemporary Examples of dreads

Historical Examples of dreads

  • In dealing with your daily dreads you simply counted God out.

  • A chimney was standing, and I must have clung to it with all my strength, like an animal that dreads death.

    The Flood

    Emile Zola

  • She dreads—she 's not so wrong there—she dreads leaving everything in my power.

  • "And thus he dreads and hates you," said she, fixing her dark eyes sternly on me.

    Confessions Of Con Cregan

    Charles James Lever

  • Let him not insult her by the doubt that she dreads poverty or long delay.


    Dinah Maria Craik, (AKA Dinah Maria Mulock)

British Dictionary definitions for dreads


verb (tr)

to anticipate with apprehension or terror
to fear greatly
archaic to be in awe of


great fear; horror
an object of terror
slang a Rastafarian
archaic deep reverence


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 dreads

see dreadlocks.



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