/fear/, n.1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.2. a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.3. concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone's safety.4. reverential awe, esp. toward God.5. that which causes a feeling of being afraid; that of which a person is afraid: Cancer is a common fear.v.t.6. to regard with fear; be afraid of.7. to have reverential awe of.8. Archaic. to experience fear in (oneself).v.i.9. to have fear; be afraid.[bef. 900; ME fere, OE faer sudden attack or danger; c. OS far ambush, D gevaar, G Gefahr danger, ON far disaster]Syn. 1. apprehension, consternation, dismay, terror, fright, panic, horror, trepidation. FEAR, ALARM, DREAD all imply a painful emotion experienced when one is confronted by threatening danger or evil. ALARM implies an agitation of the feelings caused by awakening to imminent danger; it names a feeling of fright or panic: He started up in alarm.FEAR and DREAD usually refer more to a condition or state than to an event. FEAR is often applied to an attitude toward something, which, when experienced, will cause the sensation of fright: fear of falling. DREAD suggests anticipation of something, usually a particular event, which, when experienced, will be disagreeable rather than frightening: She lives in dread of losing her money. The same is often true of FEAR, when used in a negative statement: She has no fear she'll lose her money. 6. apprehend, dread.
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