(countable and uncountable, plural fears)
- (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:
- ‘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?’
- (countable) A phobia, a sense of fear induced by something or someone.
- Not everybody has the same fears.
- I have a fear of ants.
- (uncountable) Extreme veneration or awe, as toward a supreme being or deity.
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”).
(third-person singular simple present fears, present participle fearing, simple past and past participle feared)
- Tush, tush! fear boys with bugs.
- 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.
- To venerate; to feel awe towards.
- People who fear God can be found in Christian churches.
- I fear [regret that] I have bad news for you: your husband has died.
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.
(comparative more fear, superlative most fear)
- (dialectal) Able; capable; stout; strong; sound.
- hale and fear
Origin See also: féar
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.