American English

Definition of afraid adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    [not before noun]
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  1. 1feeling fear; frightened because you think that you might be hurt or suffer Don't be afraid. afraid of somebody/something It's all over. There's nothing to be afraid of now. Are you afraid of spiders? afraid of doing something I started to feel afraid of going out alone at night. afraid to do something She was afraid to open the door.
  2. 2worried about what might happen afraid of doing something She was afraid of upsetting her parents. Julie was afraid of making a fool of herself. afraid to do something Don't be afraid to ask if you don't understand. The boy wasn't afraid to say what he believed. afraid (that…) We were afraid (that) we were going to capsize the boat.
  3. 3afraid for somebody/something worried or frightened that something unpleasant, dangerous, etc. will happen to a particular person or thing I'm not afraid for me, but for the baby. They had already fired three people and he was afraid for his job.
  4. Idioms used as a polite way of telling someone something that is unpleasant or disappointing, or that you are sorry about I can't help you, I'm afraid. I'm afraid we can't come. I'm afraid that it's not finished yet. He's no better,I'm afraid to say. “Is there any left?” “I'm afraid not.” “Will it hurt?” “I'm afraid so.” Thesaurusafraidscared frightened terrified alarmed paranoidThese words all describe feeling or showing fear.afraid [not before noun] feeling fear; worried that something bad might happen:There's nothing to be afraid of. Aren't you afraid (that) you'll fall?scared feeling fear; worried that something bad might happen:The thieves got scared and ran away. She was scared that the glass would break.frightened feeling fear; worried that something bad might happen:a frightened childafraid, scared, or frightened?Scared is more informal, more common in speech, and often describes small fears. Afraid cannot come before a noun. It can only take the preposition of, not about. If you are afraid/scared/frightened of something, or afraid/scared/frightened to do something, you think you are in danger of being hurt or suffering in some way. If you are scared/frightened about something, it is less a fear for your personal safety and more a worry that something unpleasant might happen.terrified very frightened:I was terrified (that) she might follow me. She looked at him with wide, terrified eyes. I was terrified of flying.alarmed afraid that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen:She was alarmed at the prospect of traveling alone.paranoid (somewhat informal) afraid or suspicious in a way that is not reasonable:You're just being paranoid.Patterns afraid/scared/frightened/terrified of spiders, etc. scared/frightened/paranoid about afraid/scared/frightened/terrified that afraid/scared/frightened to open the door, etc. Don't be afraid/scared/frightened/alarmed.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: afraid