View synonyms for fearful


[ feer-fuhl ]


  1. causing or apt to cause fear; frightening:

    a fearful apparition.

  2. feeling fear, dread, apprehension, or solicitude:

    fearful for his life.

    Synonyms: worried, concerned, anxious, solicitous, distrustful, uneasy, apprehensive, timorous, timid, afraid

  3. full of awe or reverence:

    fearful of the Lord.

  4. showing or caused by fear:

    fearful behavior exhibited by dogs in the animal shelter.

  5. extreme in size, intensity, or badness: fearful poverty.

    a fearful head cold;

    fearful poverty.


/ ˈfɪəfʊl /


  1. having fear; afraid
  2. causing fear; frightening
  3. informal.
    very unpleasant or annoying

    a fearful cold

Discover More

Derived Forms

  • ˈfearfulness, noun

Discover More

Other Words From

  • fear·ful·ly adverb
  • fear·ful·ness noun
  • un·fear·ful adjective

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of fearful1

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English ferful(l); fear, -ful

Discover More

Example Sentences

She softened my heart amid fearful isolation when it might otherwise have hardened in self-defense.

When investors are fearful, they tend to buy up these securities, pushing down Treasury bond yields and causing the yield curve to invert.

From Quartz

If someone is fearful of getting a vaccine, we will speak to them privately about how we can best support them.

From Digiday

Among the economic lesson of 2020 is that fearful consumers means less economic activity.

From Fortune

Anxiety makes you feel bad physically, and those physical symptoms feel like danger, so you become even more fearful and anxious, which only makes the symptoms worse.

Still fearful and smarting from the pain, I arrived on time and was led to chair in his office.

The grand jury decision “makes us a little bit more fearful to leave our homes every day,” Cook told me.

This past election, they were hardly mentioned by Republicans fearful of alienating moderates.

Oddly, though, Americans are not fearful enough when it comes to real threats.

At first, the doctors write, the villagers were “fearful and agitated,” lacking the basic necessities needed to survive.

And it is too true that ages of subjugation have demoralized, to a fearful extent, the Italian People.

His arm was drawn around the drum, and finally his whole body was drawn over the shaft, at a fearful rate.

A bull-fight is fearful enough, but it cannot compare with the struggle between a maddened buffalo and his pursuer.

The boy often wonders if there is another animal in the world with such fearful horns.

So with a fearful growl, and a bark that might have frightened a lion, Bravo made a leap and a spring after poor little Downy.