an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat:drivers are threatening to quit their jobs in fear after a cabby’s murderfear of increasing unemploymenthe is prey to irrational fears
archaic a mixed feeling of dread and reverence:the love and fear of God
(fear for) a feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something or the safety and well-being of someone:police launched a search for the family amid fears for their safety
the likelihood of something unwelcome happening:she could observe the other guests without too much fear of attracting attention
be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening:he said he didn’t care about life so why should he fear death? [with clause]:farmers fear that they will lose business
[no object] (fear for) feel anxiety or apprehension on behalf of:I fear for the city with this madman let loose in it
[with infinitive] avoid or put off doing something because one is afraid:they aim to make war so horrific that potential aggressors will fear to resort to it
used to express regret or apology:I’ll buy her book, though not, I fear, the hardback version
archaic regard (God) with reverence and awe.
for fear of (or that)
to avoid the risk of (or that):no one dared refuse the order for fear of losing their job
used to reassure someone:we shall meet again, never fear
put the fear of God in (or into) someone
cause someone to be very frightened.
without fear or favor
impartially:make all your decisions without fear or favor
Old Englishfǣr 'calamity, danger', fǣran 'frighten', also 'revere'