fear

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See also: féar and fear-

English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English feer, fere, fer, from Old English fǣr, ġefǣr (calamity, sudden danger, peril, sudden attack, terrible sight), from Proto-Germanic *fērą (danger), from Proto-Indo-European *per- (to attempt, try, research, risk). Cognate with Dutch gevaar (danger, risk, peril), German Gefahr (danger, risk, hazard), Swedish fara (danger, risk, peril), Latin perīculum (danger, risk, trial), Albanian frikë (fear,danger).

Noun[edit]

fear (countable and uncountable, plural fears)

  1. (uncountable) A strong, uncontrollable, unpleasant emotion caused by actual or perceived danger or threat.
    He was struck by fear on seeing the snake.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, The Celebrity:
      I corralled the judge, and we started off across the fields, in no very mild state of fear of that gentleman's wife, whose vigilance was seldom relaxed.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 18, The China Governess[1]:
      ‘Then the father has a great fight with his terrible conscience,’ said Munday with granite seriousness. ‘Should he make a row with the police […]?  Or should he say nothing about it and condone brutality for fear of appearing in the newspapers?’
  2. (countable) A phobia, a sense of fear induced by something or someone.
    Not everybody has the same fears.
    I have a fear of ants.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter 1, The Purchase Price:
      Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes. The clear light of the bright autumn morning had no terrors for youth and health like hers.
  3. (uncountable) Extreme veneration or awe, as toward a supreme being or deity.
    • Bible, Jeremiah xxxii. 40
      I will put my fear in their hearts.
    • Bible, Psalms xxxiv. 11
      I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English feren, from Old English fǣran (to frighten, raven), from Old English fǣr, ġefǣr (calamity, sudden danger, peril, sudden attack, terrible sight). See above.

Verb[edit]

fear (third-person singular simple present fears, present participle fearing, simple past and past participle feared)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To cause fear to; to frighten.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, Book V:
      ‘Be God,’ sayde Sir Gawayne, ‘his grevys me but lytyll; yet shalt thou nat feare me for all thy grete wordis.
    • Shakespeare
      Tush, tush! fear boys with bugs.
  2. (transitive) To feel fear about (something); to be afraid of; to consider or expect with alarm.
    I fear the worst will happen.
    I fear for their safety.
    • Shakespeare
      I greatly fear my money is not safe.
    • 2013 July 19, Mark Tran, “Denied an education by war”, The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 1: 
      One particularly damaging, but often ignored, effect of conflict on education is the proliferation of attacks on schools [] as children, teachers or school buildings become the targets of attacks. Parents fear sending their children to school. Girls are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence.
  3. (transitive) To venerate; to feel awe towards.
    People who fear God can be found in Christian churches.
  4. (transitive) Regret.
    I fear [regret that] I have bad news for you: your husband has died.
  5. (obsolete) To be anxious or solicitous for.
    • Shakespeare
      The sins of the father are to be laid upon the children, therefore [] I fear you.
  6. (obsolete) To suspect; to doubt.
    • Shakespeare
      Fear you not her courage?
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English fere, feore, from Old English fēre (able to go, fit for service), from Proto-Germanic *fōriz, *fōrijaz (passable), from Proto-Indo-European *per- (to put across, ferry). Cognate with Scots fere, feir (well, active, sound), Middle High German gevüere (able, capable, fit, serviceable), Swedish för (capable, able, stout), Icelandic færr (able). Related to fare.

Alternative forms[edit]

Adjective[edit]

fear (comparative more fear, superlative most fear)

  1. (dialectal) Able; capable; stout; strong; sound.
    hale and fear

Statistics[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Irish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Irish fer, from Proto-Celtic *wiros, from Proto-Indo-European *wiHrós. Cognate with Welsh gŵr, Latin vir, Old English wer.

Noun[edit]

fear m (genitive fir, nominative plural fir)

  1. man
  2. husband, male spouse

Declension[edit]

Mutation[edit]

Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Eclipsis
fear fhear bhfear
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

Scots[edit]

Noun[edit]

fear (plural fears)

  1. fear

Verb[edit]

tae fear (third-person singular simple present fears, present participle fearin, simple past feart, past participle feart)

  1. to fear
  2. to frighten, scare

Scottish Gaelic[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

fear m (genitive and plural fir)

  1. man
  2. husband, male spouse

Declension[edit]

First declension; forms with the definite article:

Case Singular Plural
Nominative am fear na fir
Vocative fhir fhir
Genitive an fir nam fear/fir
Dative leis an fhear leis na fir

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Pronoun[edit]

fear (genitive fir)

  1. somebody, something, one

Usage notes[edit]

Derived terms[edit]


West Frisian[edit]

Noun[edit]

fear c (plural fearren, no diminutive)

  1. ferry
  2. spring (mechanical device)