Definition of afraid in English:


Syllabification: a·fraid
Pronunciation: /əˈfrād


1Feeling fear or anxiety; frightened: I’m afraid of dogs she tried to think about the future without feeling afraid
More example sentences
  • 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.
frightened, scared, terrified, fearful, petrified, scared witless, scared to death, terror-stricken, terror-struck, frightened out of one's wits, scared out of one's wits, shaking in one's shoes, shaking like a leaf;
intimidated, alarmed, panicky;
faint-hearted, cowardly
informal scared stiff, in a cold sweat, spooked
archaic afeared, affrighted
1.1Worried that something undesirable will occur or be done: he was afraid that the farmer would send the dog after them she was afraid of antagonizing him
More 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 streets
More 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.
reluctant, hesitant, unwilling, disinclined, loath, slow, chary, shy
1.3 (afraid for) Anxious about the well-being or safety of someone or something: William was suddenly afraid for her
More 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.


Middle English: past participle of the obsolete verb affray, from Anglo-Norman French afrayer (see affray).


I'm afraid

[with clause] Used to express polite or formal apology or regret: I’m afraid I don’t understand
More 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.
sorry, sad, distressed, regretful, apologetic

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