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



BrE BrE//skeəd//
; NAmE NAmE//skerd//
Nervous, Fear
jump to other results
  • frightened of something or afraid that something bad might happen scared (of doing something) She is scared of going out alone. scared (of somebody/something) He's scared of heights. scared (to do something) People are scared to use the buses late at night. scared (that…) I’m scared (that) I’m going to fall. The thieves got scared and ran away. a scared look I was scared to death (= very frightened). We were scared stiff (= very frightened). 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 related entries: Nervous, Fear
  • Extra examples He wasn’t sick, Sophie decided. He was just plain scared. I’m feeling a little scared at the thought of the operation. I’m really scared of heights. It’s only a little injection. It’s nothing to be scared about. They had their opponent running scared. a very scared face/​expressionIdioms
    be frightened/nervous/scared of your own shadow
    jump to other results
    to be very easily frightened; to be very nervous See related entries: Fear
    be frightened/scared/terrified out of your wits
    jump to other results
    to be very frightened
    be scared/bored witless
    jump to other results
    (informal) to be extremely frightened or bored See related entries: Stupid, Fear
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: scared