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  • enPR: drĕd, IPA(key): /dɹɛd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛd

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English dreden, from Old English drǣdan (to fear, dread), aphetic form of ondrǣdan (to fear, dread), from Proto-West Germanic *andarādan, equivalent to Old English and- +‎ rǣdan (whence read); corresponding to an aphesis of earlier adread.

Akin to Old Saxon antdrādan, andrādan (to fear, dread), Old High German intrātan (to fear), Middle High German entrāten (to fear, dread, frighten).


dread (third-person singular simple present dreads, present participle dreading, simple past and past participle dreaded)

  1. (transitive) To fear greatly.
  2. To anticipate with fear.
    I'm dreading getting the results of the test, as it could decide my whole life.
  3. (intransitive) To be in dread, or great fear.
  4. (transitive) To style (the hair) into dreadlocks.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English drede, dred, from the verb (see above). Cognate with Old Frisian drēd, drēde (fear, dread).


dread (countable and uncountable, plural dreads)

  1. Great fear in view of impending evil; fearful apprehension of danger; anticipatory terror.
    My visit to the doctor is filling me with dread.
    • 1671, John Tillotson, “Sermon IV. The Advantages of Religion to Particular Persons. Psalm XIX. 11.”, in The Works of the Most Reverend Dr. John Tillotson, Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: [], 8th edition, London: [] T. Goodwin, B[enjamin] Tooke, and J. Pemberton, []; J. Round [], and J[acob] Tonson] [], published 1720, →OCLC:
      the secret dread of divine displeasure
    • c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene i]:
      the dread of something after death
    • 1961 November 10, Joseph Heller, “The Soldier in White”, in Catch-22 [], New York, N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, →OCLC, page 169:
      They shared a common dread that he would begin moaning.
    • 2014 April 12, Michael Inwood, “Martin Heidegger: the philosopher who fell for Hitler [print version: Hitler's philosopher]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Review)[1], London, page R11:
      In 1928 [Martin] Heidegger succeeded [Edmund] Husserl to take a chair at Freiburg and in his inaugural lecture made a pronouncement that earned him a reputation as an archetypal metaphysician with his claim that our awareness of people as a whole depends on our experience of dread in the face of nothingness.
  2. Reverential or respectful fear; awe.
  3. Somebody or something dreaded.
  4. (obsolete) A person highly revered.
  5. (obsolete) Fury; dreadfulness.
  6. A Rastafarian.
  7. (slang, chiefly in the plural) Clipping of dreadlock.
    • 2006, “Tell Me When To Go”, in Earl Stevens, Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels (lyrics), Lil Jon (music), My Ghetto Report Card:
      Jesus Christ had dreads / So shake 'em / I ain't got none / But I'm planning on growing some.
  8. (military, nautical, historical, slang) Clipping of dreadnought.
    The Royal Navy sent six dreads and four BCs to intercept the German raiding force.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English drede, dredde, dradde, ydreddyd (feared, dreaded, honoured), past participle of Middle English dreden (to fear, dread). See above.


dread (comparative dreader, superlative dreadest)

  1. Terrible; greatly feared; dreaded.
  2. (archaic) Awe-inspiring; held in fearful awe.
    • 1633, John Hay, editor, The Acts Made in the First Parliament of our Most High and Dread Soveraigne Charles, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c.: Holden by Himselfe, Present in Person, with His Three Estates, at Edinburgh, upon the Twentie Eight Day of Iune, Anno Domini 1633, Edinburgh: Printed by Robert Young, printer to the Kings most excellent Maiestie, →OCLC:
      The acts made in the first Parliament of our most high and dread soveraigne Charles [I], by the grace of God, King of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c. [] [book title]
Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]



Alternative forms[edit]


  • (Brazil) IPA(key): /ˈdɾɛ.d͡ʒi/, /ˈdɾɛd͡ʒ/
    • (Southern Brazil) IPA(key): /ˈdɾɛd͡ʒ/, /ˈdɾɛ.d͡ʒi/


dread m (plural dreads)

  1. Clipping of dreadlock.