see also: Fear
  • (Australia, RP) IPA: /fɪə/
  • (America) IPA: /fɪəɹ/, /fɪɹ/


  1. (uncountable) A strong, uncontrollable, unpleasant emotion or feeling caused by actual or perceived danger or threat.
    He was struck by fear on seeing the snake.
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter III, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, OCLC 40817384 ↗:
      Turning back, then, toward the basement staircase, she began to grope her way through blinding darkness, but had taken only a few uncertain steps when, of a sudden, she stopped short and for a little stood like a stricken thing, quite motionless save that she quaked to her very marrow in the grasp of a great and enervating fear.
  2. (countable) A phobia, a sense of fear induced by something or someone.
    Not everybody has the same fears.  I have a fear of ants.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314 ↗, page 0045 ↗:
      Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes. The clear light of the bright autumn morning had no terrors for youth and health like hers.
  3. (uncountable) Terrified veneration or reverence, particularly towards God, gods, or sovereigns.
    • 1611, Bible (KJV), Psalm CXI, verse 10:
      The feare of the Lord is the beginning of wisedome.
    • 1846, J. Ruskin, Modern Painters, volume II, page 121:
      That sacred dread of all offence to him, which is called the Fear of God.
  • (an emotion caused by actual or perceived danger; a sense of fear induced by something or someone) See Thesaurus:fear
  • (terrified veneration) dread
Translations Translations Translations Verb

fear (fears, present participle fearing; past and past participle feared)

  1. (transitive) To feel fear about (something or someone); to be afraid of; to consider or expect with alarm.
    I fear the worst will happen.
    • c. 1589, William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors, Act I, Scene 2,
      I greatly fear my money is not safe.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Gospel of Matthew 10:28,
      And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter II, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 16832619 ↗:
      At twilight in the summer there is never anybody to fear—man, woman, or cat—in the chambers and at that hour the mice come out. They do not eat parchment or foolscap or red tape, but they eat the luncheon crumbs.
  2. (intransitive) To feel fear (about something).
    Never fear; help is always near.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Gospel of Luke 12:32,
      Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
  3. (intransitive, used with for) To worry about, to feel concern for, to be afraid for.
    She fears for her son’s safety.
  4. (transitive) To venerate; to feel awe towards.
    People who fear God can be found in Christian churches.
  5. (transitive) To regret.
    I fear I have bad news for you: your husband has died.
  6. (obsolete, transitive) To cause fear to; to frighten.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, [http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/MaloryWks2/1:7.10?rgn=div2;view=fulltext chapter x], in Le Morte Darthur, book V:
      Thenne the knyghte sayd to syre Gawayn / bynde thy wounde or thy blee chaunge / for thou bybledest al thy hors and thy fayre armes / […] / For who someuer is hurte with this blade he shalle neuer be staunched of bledynge / Thenne ansuerd gawayn hit greueth me but lytyl / thy grete wordes shalle not feare me ne lasse my courage
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, London: William Ponsonbie, Book III, Canto IV, p. 448,
      Ythrild with deepe disdaine of his proud threat,
      She shortly thus; Fly they, that need to fly;
      Wordes fearen babes.
    • c. 1593, William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, Act I, Scene 2,
      Tush, tush! fear boys with bugs.
  7. (obsolete, transitive) To be anxious or solicitous for.
    • 1594, Christopher Marlowe, Edward II (play), London: William Jones,
      Fearst thou thy person? thou shalt haue a guard:
    • c. 1596, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act III, Scene 5,
      The sins of the father are to be laid upon the children: therefore, I promise ye, I fear you.
  8. (obsolete, transitive) To suspect; to doubt.
    • c. 1590, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, Act I, Scene 4,
      Fear you not her courage?
Synonyms Antonyms Translations Translations
  • German: Angst haben (+um), fürchten (+um/für)
Translations Adjective


  1. (dialectal) Able; capable; stout; strong; sound.
    hale and fear

Proper noun
  1. Surname

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