Definition of fearful in English:

fearful

adjective

  • 1Feeling afraid; showing fear or anxiety.

    ‘bond traders have remained fearful of inflation’
    [with clause] ‘the mothers were fearful that their daughters would marry and move abroad’
    • ‘His characters are guilty and fearful, their predicaments horrendous.’
    • ‘She saw the looks of fearful people, but what they were afraid of she didn't know.’
    • ‘For example, over the past two decades I was excessively fearful of inflation.’
    • ‘Granted, most people would be afraid to interfere, fearful of the consequences.’
    • ‘She was horrified by this show of affection and fearful of its consequences.’
    • ‘When you know who you are, there's no need to feel weird or threatened or fearful of people who aren't exactly like you.’
    • ‘Just reading that list of cautions makes me fearful about ever leaving my two daughters home by themselves.’
    • ‘This lady points out her home here among the rubble, but she is afraid of being seen on camera, fearful of what may happen to her.’
    • ‘But he's a timid child, fearful of water, heights, spiders, darkness and the great outdoors.’
    • ‘Players are tentative and nervous, fearful that one missed shot or ugly turnover will earn them a seat on the bench.’
    • ‘We stood locked in a battle of stares for a minute, my horrified expression gazing into her fearful one.’
    • ‘Are you really fearful of being misinterpreted or are you just afraid to stand up for your constituents?’
    • ‘Often the most panicked people are bystanders who become extremely fearful but have no outlet for that energy.’
    • ‘Everyone is fearful for his future, and fear leads people to do amazing, extraordinary things.’
    • ‘The current, ever-present threat of an imminent war can often make people feel fearful and powerless.’
    • ‘There's no question that at the time of the abduction she was in fear and was fearful for a period of time.’
    • ‘When this area of our life is threatened we become fearful and disillusioned.’
    • ‘I have felt powerless, disgusted, frustrated, horrified and even fearful this week, all in equal measure.’
    • ‘Some farmers are fearful that they are not being properly rewarded for the quality of the milk they produce.’
    • ‘If we are fearful of the consequences of murder then we are not likely to carry out a murder and that is good and to be welcomed.’
    nervous, trembling, quaking, quivering, shrinking, cowering, cowed, daunted
    afraid, frightened, scared, scared stiff, scared to death, terrified, petrified
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    1. 1.1 Causing or likely to cause people to be afraid; horrifying.
      ‘a fearful accident’
      • ‘Bad experiences can lead to the development of fearful beliefs about the future - fears the past will be repeated if we act the same way again.’
      • ‘With fearful symmetry, ' terror ' has acquired a new meaning, too.’
      • ‘When we are faced by a fearful situation it is human nature to hide our emotions behind a brave front and to smile when inside we are crying.’
      • ‘In spite of his fear he decides to accompany his master on this fearful adventure.’
      • ‘The literature supports an Oedipal stage, but finds that a good superego is likely to come from a loving rather than a fearful relationship with a father.’
      • ‘To the outside world, Chernobyl stands as a fearful accident and a catalogue of gross errors.’
      • ‘Call it by its real name and much of the fearful power of the thing is lost.’
      • ‘It did not gain that influence by producing timid and fearful programmes.’
      • ‘Among the nations there are fearful wars and dreadful diseases.’
      • ‘So we are intended to be relieved of the fear that our dying need be a fearful experience.’
      • ‘An Arab writer on the consequences of the Black Death for animals added another hideous dimension to our awareness of that fearful episode.’
      • ‘It came to mind that Christians who encountered Paul would have found him shocking and fearful.’
      • ‘Economists nevertheless refuse to be alarmed by fearful prognoses of deflation.’
      • ‘There are no limits to our human ability to justify our fear for, in truth, the world is a fearful place.’
      • ‘We are grieving not just for the dead but also for all our own fearful futures - the threat of war, more suffering and more fanatical hatred.’
      terrible, dreadful, awful, appalling, frightful, ghastly, horrific, horrible, horrifying, horrendous, very bad, terribly bad, shocking, atrocious, abominable, hideous, monstrous, dire, grim, unspeakable, gruesome, grievous, lamentable, distressing, harrowing, alarming
      View synonyms
  • 2informal Very great.

    ‘he could cause a fearful commotion’
    very great, great, extreme, real, dreadful
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Pronunciation:

fearful

/ˈfirfəl/