fear

[feer]

noun

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.

Nearby words

  1. fdr,
  2. fe,
  3. fe.,
  4. feal,
  5. fealty,
  6. feared,
  7. fearful,
  8. fearfully,
  9. fearless,
  10. fearlessly

Idioms

    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

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

Related formsself-fear·ing, adjectiveun·fear·ing, adjective

Synonym study

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


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.

Related Quotations
  • "Fear obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue."
    -Zbigniew Brzezinski Terrorized by ‘War on Terror’: How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America The Washington Post (March 25, 2007)
  • "What we, following the Scriptures, call the fear of God, is not terror or dread, but an awe that holds God in reverence."
    -Martin Luther by Wilhelm Herrmann, transl. by J. Sandys Stanyon, revised by R. W. Stewart The communion of the Christian with God: Described on the basis of Luther's statements (1906)
  • "I have a huge need for financial security; the immigrant in me has a fear of ending up homeless and in the gutter."
    -Ruth Behar Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza's Story (2003)
  • "To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead."
    -Bertrand Russell Marriage and Morals (1929)
  • "I fear we are all in your black books."
    -Anthony Trollope The Three Clerks (1858)
  • "[T]here may be dark abysses before which intelligence must be silent, for fear of going mad."
    -George Santayana compiled by Martin A. Coleman The Essential Santayana: Selected Writings (2009)

Fear

[feer]

noun

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for fear


British Dictionary definitions for fear

fear

noun

a feeling of distress, apprehension, or alarm caused by impending danger, pain, etc
a cause of this feeling
awe; reverencefear of God
concern; anxiety
possibility; chancethere 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

verb

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 statementI fear that you have not won
(intr foll by for) to feel anxiety about something
an archaic word for frighten
Derived Formsfearer, 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

Word Origin and History for fear
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for fear

fear

[fîr]

n.

A feeling of agitation and dread caused by the presence or imminence of danger.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with fear

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.