- The definition of dread is extreme fear, or a single dreadlock.
- An example of dread is someone being panicked with worry about the well-being of a loved one.
- An example of a dread is one of Bob Marley's dreadlocks.
- Dread means to turn one's hair into dreadlocks.
An example of dread is not washing or brushing your hair until it is matted and shaped into locks.
- Dread is defined as being anxious or feeling extreme fear about doing something.
An example of dread is a parent being afraid to talk with their pre-teen child about puberty.
- to anticipate with anxiety, alarm, or apprehension; fear intensely
- to face (something disagreeable) with reluctance
- Archaic to regard with awe
Origin of dreadMiddle English dreden from Late Old English (WS) drædan, aphetic for ondrædan (akin to Old Saxon andradan, Old High German intraten) from ond-, in, on, against + base from uncertain or unknown; perhaps
- intense fear, esp. of something which may happen
- fear mixed with awe or reverence
- reluctance and uneasiness
- something dreaded
- dreaded or dreadful
- inspiring awe or reverence; awesome
verbdread·ed, dread·ing, dreads
- To be in terror of; fear intensely: “What I most dreaded as a child was the close danger of the atomic bomb” ( James Carroll )
- To anticipate with alarm, distaste, or reluctance: We dreaded the long drive home.
- Archaic To hold in awe or reverence.
- a. Profound fear; terror: “the dread of a fire that would end not just my life but everyone else's” ( Jan Clausen )b. Fearful or anxious anticipation: the dread of saying something foolish on stage. See Synonyms at fear.c. An instance of fear or fearful anticipation: His dreads about school finally subsided.d. A source of fear, awe, or reverence: The author's greatest dread is that the book will go unnoticed.
- a. A dreadlock: She wears her hair in dreads.b. A person who wears dreadlocks.
- Archaic Awe; reverence.
- Causing terror or fear: a dread disease. See Usage Note below.
- Inspiring awe: the dread presence of the headmaster.
Origin of dreadMiddle English dreden short for adreden from Old English adrǣdan from ondrǣdan to advise against, fear ond-, and- against ; see un- 2. rǣdan to advise ; see ar- in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: The adjective dread meaning “causing terror or fear” is often supplanted by the participle adjective dreaded. In our 2015 survey, 88 percent of the Usage Panel found the use of dreaded acceptable in the sentence After communicating with the enemy, Corporal Adams was labeled with the dreaded epithet “traitor.” By contrast, only 69 percent of the Panel found the use of dread in the same sentence acceptable, while roughly one-third found its use unacceptable. It seems that dreaded is not merely gaining ground as an alternative to dread but actually replacing it as the adjective of choice to mean “causing fear.”
(third-person singular simple present dreads, present participle dreading, simple past and past participle dreaded)
(comparative dreader, superlative dreadest)
- Terrible; greatly feared.
- (archaic) Awe-inspiring; held in fearful awe.
Middle English dreden, from Old English drǣdan (“to fear, caution against”), aphetic form of ādrǣdan, ondrǣdan (“to advise or counsel against”); compare with Dutch ontraden (“to advise or counsel against”), from and- (“against”) + rǣdan (“to counsel, advise”). Akin to Old High German intrātan (“to fear”). More at read.