Definition of dare in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /der/


(third singular present usually dare before an expressed or implied infinitive without to)
1 (usually with infinitive with or without tooften with negative) Have the courage to do something: a story he dare not write down she leaned forward as far as she dared
More example sentences
  • He went on air on a Sunday afternoon and captivated his audience for three hours, nobody daring to ‘switch that dial’ as he would say himself!
  • I did receive a kind note from a visitor who thanked me for my courage, and for daring to portray Mary in that way.
  • In a society of individualists nobody dare admit to being a conformist.
be brave enough, have the courage;
venture, have the nerve, have the temerity, be so bold as, have the audacity;
risk, hazard, take the liberty, stick one's neck out, go out on a limb
2 [with object and infinitive] Defy or challenge (someone) to do something: she was daring him to disagree [with object]: swap with me, I dare you
More example sentences
  • He looked straight into Heero's eyes, daring him to challenge what he was about to say next.
  • Caitlin raised her eyebrows, daring him to disagree.
  • Jonathon's tepid gaze defied her, dared her to lose her temper.
challenge, defy, invite, bid, provoke, goad;
throw down the gauntlet
3 [with object] literary Take the risk of; brave: few dared his wrath
More example sentences
  • She had never been brave enough to dare even a tame ride around the temple grounds on its back after that.
  • Her dance instructor was one of the few who dared the wrath of the king, and spoke to the young girl, whom he pitied.
  • Even now, interviewed thirty years later, the wife yells at the husband for daring the wrath of these wiseguys.


A challenge, especially to prove courage: athletes who eat ground glass on a dare
More example sentences
  • His start came at the tender age of 18 when he began performing stand-up comedy on a dare from his University dorm mates.
  • No doubt someone will tell us the design meets the necessary standards, but if so, the standards do not recognise what children will do for a dare.
  • Take on a dare, and demonstrate that you don't always take yourself so seriously.
challenge, provocation, goad;
gauntlet, invitation



don't you dare

Used to order someone threateningly not to do something: don’t you dare touch me!
More example sentences
  • And don't you dare to say my sister isn't pretty!
  • But whatever it is I'm threatening to do, don't you dare think I won't follow through on it.
  • I didn't choose him and don't you dare ever bring him up again.

how dare you

Used to express indignation: how dare you talk to me like that!
More example sentences
  • How dare you try to make me feel selfish and isolationist when I am grieving?
  • That is not true and you know it… how dare you even say that about me.
  • How dare you to interfere where you don't belong?

I dare say (or daresay)

Used to indicate that one believes something is probable: I dare say you’ve heard about her
More example sentences
  • It's a lot of money, but I daresay a lot is expected of him.
  • Chopin ‘saddens’ the original theme in a manner which is, I daresay, objectively verifiable: the minor key descent is right there on the page.
  • For me, the culprit is not really important, although I daresay a lot of Americans feel very differently.



Example sentences
  • Midas uses Tamburlainian imagery to describe how he will wish for gold and thus be ‘monarch of the world, the darer of fortune’.
  • Though the other darers have been unwavering pillars of support, I admit I was a bit surprised and mildly dismayed at the total lack of support from other areas.
  • Whenever and wherever possible, let's take time to salute and support America's small businesses and the entrepreneurial dreamers, darers and doers who run them.


Old English durran, of Germanic origin; related to Gothic gadaursan, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek tharsein and Sanskrit dhṛṣ- 'be bold'.

  • This is a word with the deepest roots, related to forms in Greek and in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India. It originally meant ‘to have the courage to do something’. By the late 16th century there also existed the sense ‘to challenge or defy someone’, which is the meaning behind daredevil (late 18th century), a contraction of ‘someone ready to dare the devil’. This sort of formation is also seen in cut-throat (mid 16th century) and scarecrow (mid 16th century).

Words that rhyme with dare

affair, affaire, air, Altair, Althusser, Anvers, Apollinaire, Astaire, aware, Ayer, Ayr, bare, bear, bêche-de-mer, beware, billionaire, Blair, blare, Bonaire, cafetière, care, chair, chargé d'affaires, chemin de fer, Cher, Clair, Claire, Clare, commissionaire, compare, concessionaire, cordon sanitaire, couvert, Daguerre, debonair, declare, derrière, despair, doctrinaire, éclair, e'er, elsewhere, ensnare, ere, extraordinaire, Eyre, fair, fare, fayre, Finisterre, flair, flare, Folies-Bergère, forbear, forswear, foursquare, glair, glare, hair, hare, heir, Herr, impair, jardinière, Khmer, Kildare, La Bruyère, lair, laissez-faire, legionnaire, luminaire, mal de mer, mare, mayor, meunière, mid-air, millionaire, misère, Mon-Khmer, multimillionaire, ne'er, Niger, nom de guerre, outstare, outwear, pair, pare, parterre, pear, père, pied-à-terre, Pierre, plein-air, prayer, questionnaire, rare, ready-to-wear, rivière, Rosslare, Santander, savoir faire, scare, secretaire, share, snare, solitaire, Soufrière, spare, square, stair, stare, surface-to-air, swear, Tailleferre, tare, tear, their, there, they're, vin ordinaire, Voltaire, ware, wear, Weston-super-Mare, where, yeah

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dare

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.