[ skair ]
See synonyms for: scarescaredscaring on

verb (used with object),scared, scar·ing.
  1. to fill, especially suddenly, with fear or terror; frighten; alarm: What scares me most about the disease is the residual effects on the lungs and heart.The ducks scared my sister by flying right toward her.

verb (used without object),scared, scar·ing.
  1. to become frightened: That horse scares easily.

  1. a sudden fright or alarm, especially with little or no reason: I recently had a scare when my computer seemed to be malfunctioning, but it turned out to be nothing.

  2. a time or condition of alarm or worry: During the anthrax scare, people were leery of opening envelopes from addresses they didn't recognize.

Verb Phrases
  1. scare away / off, to frighten or alarm someone or something so much that they go away and stay away:Business leaders felt the fuel tax would scare away consumers fearing higher electricity bills and rising gasoline costs.The bee's sting isn't necessarily deadly, but it's painful enough to scare off predators.

  2. scare up, Informal. to obtain with effort; find or gather: We want to renovate the kitchen, but first we'll need to scare up some money.

Origin of scare

First recorded in 1150–1200; (for the verb) Middle English skerren, from Old Norse skirra “to frighten,” derivative of skjarr “timid, shy”; (for the noun) late Middle English skere, derivative of the verb

synonym study For scare

1. See frighten.

Other words for scare

Other words from scare

  • scar·er, noun
  • scar·ing·ly, adverb

Words Nearby scare Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use scare in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for scare


/ (skɛə) /

  1. to fill or be filled with fear or alarm

  2. (tr; often foll by away or off) to drive (away) by frightening

  1. (tr) US and Canadian informal (foll by up)

    • to produce (a meal) quickly from whatever is available

    • to manage to find (something) quickly or with difficulty: brewers need to scare up more sales

  1. a sudden attack of fear or alarm

  2. a period of general fear or alarm

  1. causing (needless) fear or alarm: a scare story

Origin of scare

C12: from Old Norse skirra; related to Norwegian skjerra, Swedish dialect skjarra

Derived forms of scare

  • scarer, 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with scare


In addition to the idioms beginning with scare

  • scare out of one's wits
  • scare up

also see:

  • run scared

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.