Definition of dare in US English:



  • 1usually with infinitive with or without "to" often with negativeHave the courage to do something.

    ‘a story he dare not write down’
    ‘she leaned forward as far as she dared’
    • ‘He also did not want to get into the position where nobody would dare confront him about the matter.’
    • ‘When Hampson closes his eyes at the end and bows his head, nobody dares to clap.’
    • ‘I'm still in shock from the after effects of that kiss, surprised at my own daring and marveling at Jake's sheer adorableness at the same time.’
    • ‘And suddenly I had the impression that there is an invisible line surrounding our cardinal that nobody dares to cross.’
    • ‘As only God was considered to be perfect, nobody dared to throw the first stone.’
    • ‘A more obvious explanation stares European governments in the face, but nobody dares to act.’
    • ‘At a time when even the secret services are bound by the demands of openness and transparency, nobody dares put their name to any demand that might be construed as underhand.’
    • ‘In a society of individualists nobody dare admit to being a conformist.’
    • ‘Nobody in his country dared to befriend him because of his important status.’
    • ‘But nobody had dared to link the Prime Minister with what was being done in his name.’
    • ‘The buildings are dark and lifeless; nobody dares to light any lanterns or candles.’
    • ‘I did receive a kind note from a visitor who thanked me for my courage, and for daring to portray Mary in that way.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘Nobody even dared to look at me when I ran out: George was shooting daggers at any straying eyes.’
    • ‘Nobody dared speculate yesterday as to what that margin might be.’
    • ‘Almost nobody dares to walk there, due to the snow.’
    • ‘Once Brett passed away, some were ready to say nobody would dare try to fill his shoes.’
    • ‘So far, nobody has dared to suggest that European politicians could be the culprits.’
    • ‘Everybody knew what the answer was, but nobody dared to speak up first.’
    • ‘Nobody dared to dream that they would end up winning three.’
    • ‘It was a rainy, bleak, and dark midsummer night, when nobody dared even to step through the door.’
    be brave enough, have the courage, pluck up courage, take the risk
    View synonyms
  • 2with object and infinitive Defy or challenge (someone) to do something.

    ‘she was daring him to disagree’
    with object ‘swap with me, I dare you’
    • ‘Tariq walked back onto the court, shrugging his shoulders in a kind of taunt, as if daring someone to challenge his stark conclusion.’
    • ‘He looks at me, daring me to challenge his coolness.’
    • ‘Colton still stood there holding the sword as if daring any thief to challenge him.’
    • ‘Buck's eyes glared challengingly at her, daring her to dispute the will.’
    • ‘He took a step towards me, brown eyes daring me to challenge him.’
    • ‘He made ridiculous demands, daring people to defy them. ‘Mad with power’ didn't even begin to cover it.’
    • ‘The first half of this action-filled story is so alive and challenging that it dares the audience to take its eyes from the stage, until the breathing space of the interval.’
    • ‘His unique eyes challenged hers, daring her to go back on her word.’
    • ‘Luna could feel a presence around Tiamat that dared people to challenge her.’
    • ‘Jonathon's tepid gaze defied her, dared her to lose her temper.’
    • ‘Marka's violet eyes glared at him, Simian's light brown ones flashed at her, daring her to challenge him again.’
    • ‘With a sneer she finished and straightened up, adopting an air that dared me to challenge her.’
    • ‘She looked to Alyx, daring him to challenge her logic.’
    • ‘Redfern said he doubted the law would be overturned and dared anyone to challenge it.’
    • ‘He looked me in the eye practically daring me to challenge him.’
    • ‘His blue eyes stared at her challengingly, as if daring her to tell him to move.’
    • ‘Christy smirks, daring me to challenge her position.’
    • ‘She smirked at me… challenging me, daring me to prove her accusation wrong… And I couldn't.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We glared at each other for a few more seconds, his silver eyes narrowed slightly, daring me to challenge him.’
    challenge, provoke, goad, taunt, defy, summon, invite, bid
    View synonyms
  • 3literary with object Take the risk of; brave.

    ‘few dared his wrath’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She had never been brave enough to dare even a tame ride around the temple grounds on its back after that.’


  • A challenge, especially to prove courage.

    ‘athletes who eat ground glass on a dare’
    • ‘Take on a dare, and demonstrate that you don't always take yourself so seriously.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Scarlet's face lit up as if she had just had the most perfect idea for a dare.’
    • ‘She awoke slowly, her head throbbing as it had the time she had taken a whole tankard of ale on a dare from the boys.’
    • ‘I had randomly approached him and had a little conversation with him due to a dare Riley had challenged me to.’
    • ‘There's the time Morrieson drove his car along the main trunk line for a dare.’
    • ‘The teenager who's later revealed as the injured driver, asks his friend if he'd complete a number of absurd dares.’
    • ‘John told us a funny story that I'd never heard about how he climbed his school's roof for a dare.’
    • ‘Crazy South African Guy, on a dare, drank five cans of Coke in under ten minutes.’
    • ‘It was during recess and I climbed into a first floor classroom window on a dare by Billy Aredo.’
    • ‘It is believed the youngsters started climbing as a dare.’
    • ‘His start came at the tender age of 18 when he began performing stand-up comedy on a dare from his University dorm mates.’
    • ‘He felt like a schoolboy on a dare, though he admitted he would have been much more afraid had he been a schoolboy at that time.’
    • ‘On her fifteenth birthday she had stupidly agreed to jump off a branch of a willow tree over a shallow ravine some ten feet below on a dare.’
    • ‘Moffit was not the kind of man to make a brag or take a dare or issue a challenge.’
    • ‘We would camp out in the backyard and run naked through the grass on a dare.’
    • ‘They begin a long game of dares, passing the tin back and forth between them.’
    • ‘‘They will be fairly straightforward dares, with lots of humour though some might require a bit of skill and gut,’ says Ho.’
    • ‘Glenn Hughes was a toll collector at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel until he auditioned for the San Francisco band on a dare.’
    • ‘Serious suggestions are good too. This is not really a dares request.’
    challenge, provocation, goad, taunt
    View synonyms


  • I dare say

    • Used to indicate that one believes something is probable.

      ‘I dare say you've heard about her’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The opening percussions were over-eager-almost, I dare say, off time.’
      • ‘They are older than the Pyramids, arguably even more important in the history of civilisation, and, may I dare say, more impressive.’
      • ‘This must have been a very distressing for all his family but I daresay they got used to it.’
      • ‘It's a lot of money, but I daresay a lot is expected of him.’
      • ‘I reckon that I need it although it is well over a month since we last visited the French estate and I dare say that it will be overrun with weeds, rodents and exciting new forms of insect life!’
      i assume, i expect, i believe, i presume, i take it, i suppose, i imagine, i dare say, i would have thought, it is to be presumed, i guess, in all probability, probably, in all likelihood, all things being equal, all things considered, as like as not, as likely as not, doubtless, undoubtedly, no doubt, without doubt
      View synonyms
  • don't you dare

    • Used to order someone threateningly not to do something.

      ‘don't you dare touch me!’
  • how dare you

    • Used to express indignation.

      ‘how dare you talk to me like that!’


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