- 1An 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 murder fear of increasing unemployment he is prey to irrational fearsMore example sentences
terror, fright, fearfulness, horror, alarm, panic, agitation, trepidation, dread, consternation, dismay, distress; anxiety, worry, angst, unease, uneasiness, apprehension, apprehensiveness, nervousness, nerves, perturbation, foreboding• informal the creeps, the shivers, the willies, the heebie-jeebies, jitteriness, twitchiness, butterflies (in the stomach)phobia, aversion, antipathy, dread, bugbear, nightmare, horror, terror; anxiety, neurosis• informal hang-up
- It is important to make oneself accustomed to pain and danger without fear.
- Accordingly, there was no arguable case that he had a well-founded fear of persecution.
- Accordingly, I find that the applicants do not have a well-founded fear of persecution.
- 1.1 • archaic A mixed feeling of dread and reverence: the love and fear of GodMore example sentences
- The Table is a place of feasting and refreshment, but also a place of mystery tinged with reverent fear.
- At the centre of it all is a shallow self-centred consumerism, coupled with a debilitating absence of fear and reverence for God.
- 1.2 (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 safetyMore example sentences
- The newspapers have been responsibly restrained in their editorials which reflect the growing fears and safety concerns of the citizenry.
- The union insists the dispute concerns health and safety fears.
- He does, however, see an opportunity for brands to provide consumers with comfort and relief from the anxieties caused by safety fears.
- 1.3The likelihood of something unwelcome happening: she could observe the other guests without too much fear of attracting attentionMore example sentences
- Is it right for society to live in fear and risk the chance of another murder?
- I have a terrible fear of loss, I have a terrible fear of the unexpected happening.
- All the time I'm either in fear of what will happen, or I think I ought to be afraid, but this morning I felt strong and resolute.
verb[with object] Back to top
- 1Be 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 businessMore example sentences
- Economists fear unemployment is likely to persist for longer than in previous recessions.
- Far more people fear snakes than are likely to find themselves in the presence of their slippery scales.
- When the person it was addressed to opened it, he feared it was dangerous and police were called in.
- 1.1 [no object] (fear for) Feel anxiety or apprehension on behalf of: I fear for the city with this madman let loose in itMore example sentences
worry about, feel anxious about, feel concerned about, have anxieties about
- Before dawn breaks, Lot's family and the travellers flee the city, fearing for their lives.
- Republicans across the city had feared for the future of the administration.
- His resignation will be a tragedy for the city and I fear for some of his patients.
- 1.2 [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 itMore example sentences
be too afraid, be too scared, hesitate, dare not
- Only a superficial soul fears to fraternize with itself.
- Not fearing to reunite old enemies alongside old friends, they are organising a school reunion for the class of 1978.
- Yet as long as they were killing us in small batches, we responded with passivity, fearing to stir up more trouble.
for fear of (or that)
- To avoid the risk of (or that): no one dared refuse the order for fear of losing their jobMore example sentences
- This is exactly the sort of compulsive behaviour I have to avoid for fear of going mad.
- He speculated that the tree was ill and the koalas knew of it, avoiding the leaves for fear of food poisoning.
- Players were afraid to take defensive risks for fear that no one would help out, and often no one would.
- Used to reassure someone: we shall meet again, never fearMore example sentences
- Well, never fear, you shall meet all of those new things one at a time, and in no time at all they won't be new any more, they shall seem like old friends.
- But never fear, I am required as Admissions Officer to check in regularly while on holiday, to sort out new students applying and those that panic when the Embassy won't give them a study visa.
- If you missed it - as you probably did - never fear.
put the fear of God in (or into) someone
- Cause someone to be very frightened.More example sentences
- They must observe human rights at all times as well as protect people rather than putting the fear of God into them.
- Apart from a few acrobatic monkeys putting the fear of God into me, and sweltering soaking heat, it was a pleasant trek.
- We want people to take sensitive precautions - we don't want to put the fear of God into them.
without fear or favor
- Impartially: make all your decisions without fear or favorMore example sentences
- Judges are supposed to impartially interpret the law without fear or favour.
- What hidden motivations are there in an oath that states that our judges will pledge themselves to act fairly and impartially, without fear or favour, affection, or ill will?
- Anyone suspected of criminal behaviour, regardless of who they are, should be subject to investigation, and, if the competent authority deems necessary, should be tried without fear or favour.
Old English fǣr 'calamity, danger', fǣran 'frighten', also 'revere'.