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From Middle English affrayed, affraied, past participle of afraien(to affray), from Anglo-Norman afrayer(to terrify, disquiet, disturb), from Old French effreer, esfreer(to disturb, remove the peace from), from es-(out) + freer(to secure, secure the peace), from Frankish *friþu(security, peace), from Proto-Germanic *friþuz(peace), from Proto-Germanic *frijōną(to free; to love), from Proto-Indo-European *prāy-, *prēy-(to like, love). Compare also afeard. More at free, friend.



afraid (comparative more afraid, superlative most afraid)

  1. (usually used predicatively, not attributively) Impressed with fear or apprehension; in fear.
    He is afraid of death.
    He is afraid to die.
    He is afraid that he will die.
  2. (colloquial) regretful, sorry
    I am afraid I can not help you in this matter.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (Impressed with fear or apprehension; in fear; apprehensive): Afraid expresses a lesser degree of fear than terrified or frightened. It is often followed by the preposition of and the object of fear, or by an infinitive, or by a dependent clause, as shown in the examples above.


Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


Most common English words before 1923: die · arm · wrong · #646: afraid · merely · struck · man's



af-(un-) +‎ rhaid(necessity)



afraid (feminine singular afraid, plural afraid, equative afreidied, comparative afreidiach, superlative afreidiaf)

  1. unnecessary, unessential
    • c. 1500, Ieuan Tew, poem in Cwrt Mawr manuscript no. 5, published and translated 1921 by T. Gwynn Jones, “Cultural Bases. A Study of the Tudor Period in Wales”, Y Cymmrodor. The Magazine of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, vol. 31, page 182:
      mogelwch yma golyn
      a fo goeg, ag afu gwyn—
      a choegddyn crin, ledryn crach,
      o fradwr—nid afreidiach;
      beware of the sting of white-livered wretches, and every withered, niggardly wretch of a traitor—it were not less necessary;
    • c. 1600, Edmwnd Prys, quoted in A Welsh Grammar, Historical and Comparative by J. Morris Jones, Oxford: 1913, p. 44:
      Amlwg fydd trŵyn a’r wyneb;
      Afraid i ni nodi neb.
      Plain is the nose on a face; it is unnecessary for us to mention anyone.


afraid m (plural afreidiau)

  1. superfluity, extravagance


Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal h-prothesis
afraid unchanged unchanged hafraid
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.