Definition of afraid adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//əˈfreɪd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈfreɪd//
    [not before noun] Fear
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  1. 1  feeling 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. See related entries: Fear
  2. 2  worried about what might happen afraid of doing something She was afraid of upsetting her parents. Tamsin 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. More Like This Adjectives that do not come before a noun afloat, addicted, afraid, alike, alive, alone, ashamed, asleep, awakeSee worksheet.
  4. Word OriginMiddle English: past participle of the obsolete verb affray, from Anglo-Norman French afrayer ‘disturb, startle’, based on an element of Germanic origin related to Old English frithu ‘peace, safety’.Extra examples Don’t worry. There’s nothing to be afraid of. He stopped abruptly, suddenly afraid to say the words out loud. He was half afraid to look at her. Roger was very afraid for her. She was tense, almost afraid to open the letter. What has made you so deeply afraid of your boss? You do know, don’t you? You are just afraid to tell me. Are you afraid of the dark? Aren’t you afraid (that) you’ll fall? Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you. I’m not afraid for me, but for the baby. I’m not afraid of you! There’s nothing to be afraid of.Idioms  used as a polite way of telling somebody 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.’ Synonymsafraidfrightened scared 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?frightened feeling fear; worried that something bad might happen:a frightened child She was frightened that the glass would break.scared (rather informal) feeling fear; worried that something bad might happen:The thieves got scared and ran away.afraid, frightened or scared?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/​frightened/​scared of somebody/​something/​doing something or afraid/​frightened/​scared to do something, you think you are in danger of being hurt or suffering in some way. If you are frightened/​scared about something/​doing 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 wouldn’t come. She looked at him with wide, terrified eyes.alarmed afraid that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen:She was alarmed at the prospect of travelling alone.paranoid (rather informal) afraid or suspicious of other people and believing that they are trying to harm you, in a way that is not reasonable:You’re just being paranoid.Patterns afraid/​frightened/​scared of spiders, etc. frightened/​scared/​paranoid about afraid/​frightened/​scared/​terrified that afraid/​frightened/​scared to open the door, etc. Don’t be afraid/​frightened/​scared/​alarmed.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: afraid

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