[ feer ]
See synonyms for fear on Thesaurus.com
  1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

  2. a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.

  1. concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone's safety.

  2. reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God.

  3. something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension; something a person is afraid of: Cancer is a common fear.

  4. 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.

verb (used with object)
  1. to regard with fear; be afraid of.

  2. to have reverential awe of.

  1. to consider or anticipate (something unpleasant) with a feeling of dread or alarm: It's about to snow again, I fear.

  2. Archaic. to experience fear in (oneself): I fear me he will ne'er forgive us.

verb (used without object)
  1. to have fear; be afraid: I'll go with you, so do not fear!

  2. 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

  1. for fear of / that, in order to prevent or avoid the risk of: She is afraid to say anything for fear of the consequences.

  2. put the fear of God in / into, to cause to be greatly afraid.

Origin of fear

First recorded before 900; Middle English fere, Old English fær “sudden attack or danger”; cognate with Old Saxon fār “ambush,” Dutch gevaar, German Gefahr “danger,” Old Norse fār “disaster”

synonym study For fear

Fear, alarm, dread all imply a painful emotion experienced when one is confronted by threatening danger or evil. Alarm implies an agitation of the feelings caused by awakening to imminent danger; it names a feeling of fright or panic: He started up in alarm. Fear and dread usually refer more to a condition or state than to an event. Fear is often applied to an attitude toward something, which, when experienced, will cause the sensation of fright: fear of falling. Dread suggests anticipation of something, usually a particular event, which, when experienced, will be disagreeable rather than frightening: She lives in dread of losing her money. The same is often true of fear, when used in a negative statement: She has no fear of losing her money.

Other words for fear

Opposites for fear

Other words from fear

  • self-fearing, adjective
  • un·fear·ing, adjective

Words Nearby fear

Other definitions for Fear (2 of 2)

[ feer ]

  1. a river in SE North Carolina. 202 miles (325 km) long.

  2. 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

British Dictionary definitions for fear


/ (fɪə) /

  1. a feeling of distress, apprehension, or alarm caused by impending danger, pain, etc

  2. a cause of this feeling

  1. awe; reverence: fear of God

  2. concern; anxiety

  3. possibility; chance: there is no fear of that happening

  4. for fear of, for fear that or for fear lest to forestall or avoid

  5. no fear certainly not

  6. put the fear of God into to frighten

  1. to be afraid (to do something) or of (a person or thing); dread

  2. (tr) to revere; respect

  1. (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

  2. (intr foll by for) to feel anxiety about something

  3. an archaic word for frighten

Origin of fear

Old English fǣr; related to Old High German fāra, Old Norse fār hostility, Latin perīculum danger

Derived forms of fear

  • 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.