adjective, scar·i·er, scar·i·est.

causing fright or alarm.
easily frightened; timid.

Origin of scary

First recorded in 1575–85; scare + -y1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for scary


adjective scarier or scariest informal

causing fear or alarm; frightening
easily roused to fear; timid
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 scary

also scarey, "terrifying," 1580s, from scare (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "easily frightened, subject to scares" is from 1800. Related: Scarier; scariest.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper