Definition of dread in English:


Line breaks: dread
Pronunciation: /drɛd


[with object]
  • 1Anticipate with great apprehension or fear: Jane was dreading the party [with infinitive]: I dread to think what Russell will say
    More example sentences
    • If £7 represents ‘good value’ in the gloom of winter, I'd dread to think how they will value summer fare.
    • I would dread to think that a scene such as the one I witnessed at the age of twelve could happen in a playground now.
    • If this were a regular occurrence I would dread to think of what effect it would have on me.
    fear, be afraid of, worry about, be anxious about, have forebodings about, feel apprehensive about; be terrified by, cower at, tremble/shudder at, cringe from, shrink from, quail from, flinch from
    informal have cold feet about, be in a blue funk about
  • 2 archaic Regard with great awe or reverence: the man whom Henry dreaded as the future champion of English freedom


Back to top  
  • 2A sudden take-off and flight of a flock of gulls or other birds: flocks of wood sandpiper, often excitable, noisy, and given to dreads
  • 3 informal A person with dreadlocks: the band appeals to dreads and baldheads alike
    More example sentences
    • Black, white, gay, straight, punks, dreads, skinheads, boys and girls, we had totally connected with militant anti-racist youth.
    • Don't even think for a minute that the Rastafarians are only in the business of making mats and brooms… you ever see a fat dread yet?
  • 3.1 (dreads) Dreadlocks: Lyon combed his fingers through Curtis' dreads
    More example sentences
    • He re-tied his dreads in a loose ponytail, which flopped over his left shoulder.
    • When I put mine in dreads, it was long and wavy and a little frizzy.
    • Part of the style in the photo seems to be using an oversize cap, but that may just be necessary because of the dreads.


[attributive] Back to top  
  • 1Greatly feared; dreadful: he was stricken with the dread disease and died
    More example sentences
    • While he may have settled into what we may define a ‘normal’ life, he forever lives in the dread fear that one day, he may wake up to find the fruit bandit has struck again.
    • We still suggest woolen hoods for the Fourth of July picnics, but you can open a window now without fear of dread contagion.
    • With the air-conditioning switched off, it was becoming hot and stuffy in the confined cabin space, and only there did I really begin to feel the dread hand of fear.
    awful, feared, frightening, alarming, terrifying, frightful, terrible, horrible, dreadful, dire; dreaded, awesome
  • 2 archaic Regarded with awe; greatly revered: that dread being we dare oppose


Old English ādrǣdan, ondrǣdan, of West Germanic origin; related to Old High German intrātan.

More definitions of dread

Definition of dread in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day astrogation
Pronunciation: ˌastrəˈgāSHən
(in science fiction) navigation in outer space