[ feer ]
/ fɪər /
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verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
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.
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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.

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.

popular references for fear

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, adjectiveun·fear·ing, adjective

Words nearby fear

Other definitions for fear (2 of 2)

[ feer ]
/ fɪər /

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

British Dictionary definitions for fear

/ (fɪə) /


Derived forms of fear

fearer, nounfearless, adjectivefearlessly, adverbfearlessness, noun

Word Origin for fear

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