Definition of afraid in US English:

afraid

adjective

  • 1predicative Feeling fear or anxiety; frightened.

    ‘I'm afraid of dogs’
    ‘she tried to think about the future without feeling afraid’
    • ‘It is now the political leaders who drove the politics of fear who look most afraid.’
    • ‘They only have power if we believe they have, if we are afraid of them and we let our fear silence us.’
    • ‘She says she's not afraid of death, she's just frightened of losing the people she loves.’
    • ‘Anyone who has nothing to be fearful of should not be afraid of the Customs Service.’
    • ‘Some are afraid of retaliation because they have been vocal proponents of peace.’
    • ‘We cannot be afraid of the threat of foreign powers because times are changing.’
    • ‘These men might be afraid of her now, but that fear would only last as long as she could keep her power flowing.’
    • ‘He was always very afraid of death and would have hoped for a miracle.’
    • ‘He said today he was not afraid of competing with supermarkets but feared the effect on customer choice.’
    • ‘True scholars are afraid of no hypothesis; they go where others fear to think.’
    • ‘However, the truth is that in their heart of hearts, quite a few adults are afraid of deep water.’
    • ‘He says that since starting the job he is less jumpy and no longer afraid of the dark.’
    • ‘I know if it was me I would be frightened and would be afraid to go out after dark.’
    • ‘In all her life she had never been afraid of a single man besides her father.’
    • ‘They felt nervous about walking home in the dark; they were afraid of evil spirits.’
    • ‘True leaders are not afraid of telling the truth as they see it for fear of losing favor.’
    • ‘It has certainly exacerbated the extent to which people are afraid of terrorist attacks.’
    • ‘The greatest trick is to not to show that you are afraid of something.’
    • ‘She explained she was afraid of having children because she feared she could not feed them.’
    • ‘It is not just passengers who are afraid of flying - airline employees are fearful too.’
    frightened, scared, scared stiff, terrified, fearful, petrified, nervous, scared to death
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Worried 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’
      • ‘For example, we are afraid that if others knew the truth about us, they wouldn't like us.’
      • ‘She was afraid that something might happen to her mum while she wasn't there.’
      • ‘My arms hugged around me, as if I was suddenly afraid of him, as if I was afraid that he would hurt me.’
      • ‘We were afraid that the sunrise would not be as glorious as we'd wanted it to be because of the clouds.’
      • ‘That cost us a lot of money and we were afraid that we would lose our connection with the public.’
      • ‘He said that he was afraid that people would not come and stay around the town if there was a concert.’
      • ‘Now I am afraid that my right ear, which is almost normal, may also develop problems.’
      • ‘It got a lot of media attention, and local art officials were afraid that too many people would show up to watch.’
      • ‘I'm afraid that I still break out in a cold sweat when Patricia's being masterful.’
      • ‘We all understand self-indulgence but are afraid that self-denial might be beyond us.’
      • ‘I am afraid that the answer is one that people may not want to hear or even think about.’
      • ‘I'm afraid that what he alludes to is only a possibility among others, and not in my view the most likely one.’
      • ‘Everyone is afraid that you'll write something damning about them for all to see.’
      • ‘He is afraid that if his marking is challenged and an appeal conducted he will be held to have been discriminatory.’
      • ‘I'm afraid that sulphur gives some people a headache and puts them off wine altogether.’
      • ‘Another part of me is afraid that it's temporary and that I'm not going to be able to hold onto it.’
      • ‘I spent most of the film afraid that something terrible would happen to a child, explicitly or not.’
      • ‘I am afraid that now that I am a bit better things are not going to change much.’
      • ‘I'm afraid that, when it comes right down to it, this is the one that's likely to be closest to the truth.’
      • ‘We hope the future is better than the past, but we're afraid that the past could repeat itself.’
    2. 1.2with infinitive Unwilling or reluctant to do something for fear of the consequences.
      ‘I'm often afraid to go out on the streets’
      • ‘They kill and maim people and are too afraid to take the consequences of their actions.’
      • ‘I was afraid to look. I opened my eyes and saw my husband on his knees in a pile of glass, holding his face in his hands.’
      • ‘Like a doctor afraid to frighten a patient with a truthful diagnosis, it doesn't say half enough.’
      • ‘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, unwilling, disinclined, loath, slow
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3afraid for Anxious about the well-being or safety of.
      ‘William was suddenly afraid for her’
      • ‘Their names have not been disclosed because they are afraid for their lives.’
      • ‘That mobile phone companies should find themselves weakened just as the sector was about take off makes many afraid for its future stability.’
      • ‘He told police he was too afraid for himself and his family to tell the truth at first.’
      • ‘She appeared to be more concerned for the well-being of the other crewmembers than afraid for her own life.’
      • ‘She was afraid for him, and grateful for his presence in the world.’
      • ‘Sometimes the world seems a dark place; we feel uncertain about the present, and afraid for the future.’
      • ‘After the attack she suffered pains in her stomach and was afraid for the health of her baby.’
      • ‘Moving closer she put her arms around his tense body, afraid for him.’
      • ‘If people were desperately afraid for their personal security, there would be exactly such movements.’
      • ‘I was afraid for my eternal salvation all day every day, in every thought and deed.’
      • ‘They're afraid for their life and perhaps something needs to be done.’
      • ‘Fear has an enormous hold over people; they will do almost anything if they are afraid for themselves or their loved ones.’
      • ‘All of the court ladies that hadn't fainted were clinging to their partners, mortally afraid for their lives.’
      • ‘His new album, written after a nasty split with his fiancee, is so forlorn that the music press is afraid for his health.’
      • ‘My 16-year-old daughter was in the shop and I was afraid for her safety.’
      • ‘I doubted my own sanity at times, and was afraid for what it really meant about me and my future.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘People are afraid of the thieves and afraid for their future.’
      • ‘Many people could not understand what I saw in him and were actually afraid for my safety with him, especially my mother.’

Phrases

  • I'm afraid

    • with clauseUsed to express polite or formal apology or regret.

      ‘I'm afraid I don't understand’
      • ‘Another quiet month I'm afraid, which means too much time spent on here.’
      • ‘With the amount of money that is being spent on them, this is entirely possible, I'm afraid.’
      • ‘It'll have to be a new one, I'm afraid, or nearly new, and from a proper dealer with a good reputation to protect.’
      • ‘You always want more, of course, because it's a numbers game, I'm afraid to say.’
      • ‘It's back to lining up to see your diabetic specialist on a regular basis, I'm afraid.’
      • ‘This non-stop preoccupation with health matters is terribly boring, I'm afraid.’
      • ‘This might do in the infants, but I'm afraid by the sixth form we expect something a little more sophisticated.’
      • ‘There doesn't seem to be much joined up thinking on the matter, I'm afraid.’
      • ‘One or two of the author's accounts are not very interesting at all, I'm afraid.’
      • ‘Those who advocate other methods are again showing their ignorance, I'm afraid.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After having surgery on a knee injury, I'm afraid to say that's my season over with.’
      • ‘And I'm afraid that the new leader simply doesn't have the charisma to carry it off.’
      • ‘And I'm afraid that from now on I shall have to turn my hand at the removal of unwanted comments.’
      • ‘Unfortunate timing, I'm afraid, in that it happened to be my wedding anniversary.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, it's nothing as sensible and well thought out as that I'm afraid.’
      • ‘But all is not what it seems I'm afraid and she now feels she may have made the move in haste.’
      • ‘The other players, I'm afraid to say, are a modest team who have absolutely no chance of winning the World Cup.’
      • ‘I've never read the book, I'm afraid to say and didn't understand this question at first.’
      • ‘Sparkling wit and scintillating conversation are not likely to be my forté today, I'm afraid.’
      sorry, sad, distressed, regretful, apologetic, unhappy, remorseful, rueful
      View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation

afraid

/əˈfrād//əˈfreɪd/