- 1Feeling fear or anxiety; frightened: I’m afraid of dogs she tried to think about the future without feeling afraidMore example sentences
frightened, scared, scared stiff, terrified, fearful, petrified, nervous, scared to death; apprehensive (about), intimidated (by), alarmed (at); uneasy, tense, worried, panicky, terror-stricken, terror-struck, horror-stricken, horror-struck, frightened/scared out of one's wits, scared witless, beside oneself, frantic, hysterical, with one's heart in one's mouth, shaking in one's shoes, shaking like a leaf; timid, timorous, faint-hearted, cowardly, cowering, cowed, pusillanimous, daunted; British nervy• informal in a (blue) funk, in a cold sweat, in a flap, in a fluster, in a state, in a tizzy/tizz, yellow, chicken, jittery, jumpydialect frit; Scottish feartNorth American • informal spooked• vulgar slang shit scared
- It has certainly exacerbated the extent to which people are afraid of terrorist attacks.
- He says that since starting the job he is less jumpy and no longer afraid of the dark.
- He said today he was not afraid of competing with supermarkets but feared the effect on customer choice.
- 1.1Worried that something undesirable will occur or be done: she was afraid that he would be angryMore example sentences
- My arms hugged around me, as if I was suddenly afraid of him, as if I was afraid that he would hurt me.
- Now I am afraid that my right ear, which is almost normal, may also develop problems.
- We all understand self-indulgence but are afraid that self-denial might be beyond us.
- 1.2 [with infinitive] Unwilling or reluctant to do something for fear of the consequences: I’m often afraid to go out on the streetsMore example sentences
- They kill and maim people and are too afraid to take the consequences of their actions.
- They're not afraid to slow their songs down, lose the bass and add a pretty vocal.
- In consequence we are becoming a tight-lipped silent majority afraid to rise above the parapet.
- 1.3 (afraid for) Anxious about the well-being or safety of: William was suddenly afraid for herMore example sentences
- Many people could not understand what I saw in him and were actually afraid for my safety with him, especially my mother.
- The reason he had not offered information concerning where he had obtained the drugs was because he was genuinely afraid for his safety if he did so.
- Their victims included a deaf and dumb couple who lost about £160 in the burglary and are now so afraid for their safety they want to move.
- [with clause] Used to express polite or formal apology or regret: I’m afraid I don’t understandMore example sentences
- I know I should start to share the comings and goings of the trip but I need to take another day off, I'm afraid.
- This non-stop preoccupation with health matters is terribly boring, I'm afraid.
- Sparkling wit and scintillating conversation are not likely to be my forté today, I'm afraid.
Middle English: past participle of the obsolete verb affray, from Anglo-Norman French afrayer (see affray).