[ skair ]
See synonyms for: scarescaredscaring on

verb (used with object),scared, scar·ing.
  1. to fill, especially suddenly, with fear or terror; frighten; alarm.

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.

  2. a time or condition of alarm or worry: For three months there was a war scare.

Verb Phrases
  1. scare up, Informal. to obtain with effort; find or gather: to scare up money.

Origin of scare

First recorded in 1150–1200; (verb) Middle English skerren, from Old Norse skirra “to frighten”, derivative of skjarr “timid, shy”; (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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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.