[feer-suh m]


causing fear: a fearsome noise.
causing awe or respect: a fearsome self-confidence.
afraid; timid.

Origin of fearsome

First recorded in 1760–70; fear + -some1
Related formsfear·some·ly, adverbfear·some·ness, noun
Can be confusedfearful fearsome
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fearsome

Contemporary Examples of fearsome

Historical Examples of fearsome

  • Allis crept to her father like a fearsome child avoiding goblins.


    W. A. Fraser

  • And Czerny could live here, cheek by jowl with these fearsome mysteries!

    The House Under the Sea

    Sir Max Pemberton

  • I'm that fearsome, that I declare I shiver and quake at nothing.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • This is the twenty-seventh time we've had you up for this heinous, fearsome crime.

    Mixed Faces

    Roy Norton

  • Others joined in fearsome averment: "Truly this was the Son of God."

    Jesus the Christ

    James Edward Talmage

British Dictionary definitions for fearsome



timorous; afraid
Derived Formsfearsomely, adverbfearsomeness, 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

Word Origin and History for fearsome

1768, from fear + -some (1). Related: Fearsomely; fearsomeness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper