a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.
concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone's safety.
reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God.
something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension; something a person is afraid of: Cancer is a common fear.
anticipation of the possibility that something unpleasant will occur: Having grown up during the Great Depression, he had a constant fear of running out of money.
to regard with fear; be afraid of.
to have reverential awe of.
to consider or anticipate (something unpleasant) with a feeling of dread or alarm: It's about to snow again, I fear.
Archaic. to experience fear in (oneself): I fear me he will ne'er forgive us.
to have fear; be afraid: I'll go with you, so do not fear!
to feel apprehensive or uneasy (usually followed by for): In this time of economic instability, I fear for my children's future.
Idioms about fear
for fear of / that, in order to prevent or avoid the risk of: She is afraid to say anything for fear of the consequences.
put the fear of God in / into, to cause to be greatly afraid.
— Fear and Trembling: A philosophical exploration of faith and ethics by Sören Kierkegaard. Published in 1843 under the pseudonym Johannes de Silentio.
— Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream: A roman à clef by gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, illustrated by Ralph Steadman. First printed in 1971 as a two-part series in Rolling Stone magazine, and as a novel in 1972.
— Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A film adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson book, directed by Terry Gilliam. Released in 1998.
— The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things: 1999 book by sociologist Barry Glassner, examining why Americans' fears are misplaced and exaggerated. Revised and updated in 2010.
— Fear Factor: An American reality game show (2001–2006) in which contestants had to complete a series of dangerous, disgusting, or otherwise fear-inducing stunts.
—No FEAR Act: The Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (Public Law 107–174). The act, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002, increases Federal agency accountability for acts of discrimination or reprisal against employees.
- self-fearing, adjective
- un·fear·ing, adjective
Other definitions for Fear (2 of 2)
a river in SE North Carolina. 202 miles (325 km) long.
Cape, a cape at its mouth.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use fear in a sentence
Others voice fear that their taxes would be raised under Biden.Election live updates: Trump returns to Wisconsin; Biden to face live audience at town hall | Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner | September 17, 2020 | Washington Post
There’s a palpable fear among Democrats that voters will blame them on Election Day should they appear to be putting their own re-elections ahead of what’s good for Americans.Trump moves closer to Pelosi in economic aid talks, and House speaker must decide next move | Rachael Bade, Erica Werner | September 17, 2020 | Washington Post
She was asked by senior Pence aides, she said, to help on an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that minimized the fears of a second coronavirus wave and touted the administration’s work on the virus as a success story.Former Pence aide says she will vote for Biden because of Trump’s ‘flat out disregard for human life’ during pandemic | Josh Dawsey | September 17, 2020 | Washington Post
Cleopatra and Toliver conquer obstacles and fears under Bell’s tutelage and draw connections between the trail and life.Discovering the Joy of Bikepacking in the Backcountry | Outside Editors | September 17, 2020 | Outside Online
That might seem tangential to solving your back pain, but the truth is that a large part of overcoming that discomfort is about overcoming the fear of being in pain.The best thing for back pain is actually more movement | Sara Chodosh | September 16, 2020 | Popular-Science
Before anti-vaxxers, there were anti-fluoriders: a group who spread fear about the anti-tooth decay agent added to drinking water.
The fear of violence should not determine what one does or does not say.
Stephanie Giorgio, a classical musician, credits The Class for helping her cope with anxiety, focus, fear, and self-doubt.How Taryn Toomey’s ‘The Class’ Became New York’s Latest Fitness Craze | Lizzie Crocker | January 9, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
The choice between freedom and fear is not difficult when seen with perspective.Why We Stand With Charlie Hebdo—And You Should Too | John Avlon | January 8, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
The decision not to run the cartoons is motivated by nothing more than fear: either fear of offending or fear of retaliation.Why We Stand With Charlie Hebdo—And You Should Too | John Avlon | January 8, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Truth is a torch, but one of enormous size; so that we slink past it in rather a blinking fashion for fear it should burn us.Pearls of Thought | Maturin M. Ballou
To others the fierce desire for social justice obliterates all fear of a general catastrophe.The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice | Stephen Leacock
Her heart fluttered violently with fear as she saw that he stepped out after her, and walked by her side toward the house.Checkmate | Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
And for fear of being ill spoken of weep bitterly for a day, and then comfort thyself in thy sadness.The Bible, Douay-Rheims Version | Various
The water suggested the fear that he must be nearing the open sea, and he became supernaturally grave.The Giant of the North | R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for fear
a feeling of distress, apprehension, or alarm caused by impending danger, pain, etc
a cause of this feeling
awe; reverence: fear of God
possibility; chance: there is no fear of that happening
for fear of, for fear that or for fear lest to forestall or avoid
no fear certainly not
put the fear of God into to frighten
to be afraid (to do something) or of (a person or thing); dread
(tr) to revere; respect
(tr; takes a clause as object) to be sorry: used to lessen the effect of an unpleasant statement: I fear that you have not won
(intr foll by for) to feel anxiety about something
an archaic word for frighten
- fearer, noun
- fearless, adjective
- fearlessly, adverb
- fearlessness, noun
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with fear
see fools rush in where angels fear to tread; for fear of; never fear; put the fear of god in.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.