- causing or apt to cause fear; frightening: a fearful apparition.
- feeling fear, dread, apprehension, or solicitude: fearful for his life; fearful lest he commit suicide.
- full of awe or reverence: fearful of the Lord.
- showing or caused by fear: fearful behavior.
- extreme in size, intensity, or badness: a fearful head cold; fearful poverty.
Origin of fearful
SynonymsSee more synonyms for fearful on Thesaurus.com
2. afraid, timid, timorous, apprehensive, uneasy, distrustful; solicitous, anxious, concerned, worried.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for fearful
This past election, they were hardly mentioned by Republicans fearful of alienating moderates.It Gets Better—but Mostly if You Live in a Rich, Democratic Country
November 11, 2014
Oddly, though, Americans are not fearful enough when it comes to real threats.Ebola, ISIS, the Border: So Much to Fear, So Little Time!
November 2, 2014
At first, the doctors write, the villagers were “fearful and agitated,” lacking the basic necessities needed to survive.1976 Vs. Today: Ebola’s Terrifying Evolution
September 10, 2014
How can we speak to their fears in a way that gets them to understand that there is nothing to be fearful of?Even After Hobby Lobby, the Religious Right is Still Terrified
July 6, 2014
McCarthy, fearful that Lou might fall, had whispered to Dahlgren, “Catch him if he starts to go down.”The Stacks: The Day Lou Gehrig Delivered Baseball’s Gettysburg Address
July 4, 2014
Has this fearful pestilence no power to restrain the appetites and passions of the people?Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
Though the cove was more quiet than the ocean, yet it was fearful enough, even there.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
That fearful alley was no place for human beings; certainly not for these two.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
The sympathy of it stirred the listener to fearful memories.Within the Law
Your da's death was a fearful blow to her, and she never overed it.The Foolish Lovers
St. John G. Ervine
- having fear; afraid
- causing fear; frightening
- informal very unpleasant or annoyinga fearful cold
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 fearful
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper