What does dread mean?

Definitions for dread

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word dread.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. apprehension, apprehensiveness, dreadadjective

    fearful expectation or anticipation

    "the student looked around the examination room with apprehension"

  2. awful, dire, direful, dread(a), dreaded, dreadful, fearful, fearsome, frightening, horrendous, horrific, terribleverb

    causing fear or dread or terror

    "the awful war"; "an awful risk"; "dire news"; "a career or vengeance so direful that London was shocked"; "the dread presence of the headmaster"; "polio is no longer the dreaded disease it once was"; "a dreadful storm"; "a fearful howling"; "horrendous explosions shook the city"; "a terrible curse"

  3. fear, dreadverb

    be afraid or scared of; be frightened of

    "I fear the winters in Moscow"; "We should not fear the Communists!"


  1. dreadnoun

    A great fear.

  2. dreadnoun

    Somebody or something dreaded.

  3. dreadnoun

    A Rastafarian.

  4. dreadnoun


  5. dreadverb

    To fear greatly.

  6. dreadverb

    To anticipate with fear.

    I'm dreading getting the results of the test, as it could decide my whole life.

  7. dreadadjective

    Terrible; greatly feared.

  8. dreadadjective

    Awe-inspiring; held in fearful awe.

  9. Etymology: dreden, from drædan, aphetic form of adrædan, ondrædan; compare with Dutch ontraden, from and- + rædan. Akin to intratan. More at read.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Dreadadjective

    Etymology: dræd, Saxon.

    That e’er this tongue of mine,
    That laid the sentence of dread banishment
    On yond’ proud man, should take it off again
    With words of sooth! William Shakespeare, Richard II.

    It cannot be, but thou hast murther’d him:
    So should a murtherer look, so dread, so grim. William Shakespeare.

    To be expos’d against the warring winds?
    To stand against the deep dread bolted thunder. William Shakespeare.

    Be sure, and terrour, seiz’d the rebel host,
    When, coming towards them, so dread they saw
    The bottom of the mountains upward turn’d. John Milton, P. Lost.

    Thou, attended gloriously from heav’n,
    Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send
    The summoning archangels to proclaim
    Thy dread tribunal. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. iii. l. 323.

    From this descent
    Celestial virtues rising, will appear
    More glorious and more dread than from no fall. John Milton.

  2. DREADnoun

    Etymology: drad, Saxon.

    Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak,
    When pow’r to flatt’ry bows? To plainness honour
    Is bound, when majesty to folly falls. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    But was ever any wicked man free from the stings of a guilty conscience, from the secret dread of divine displeasure, and of the vengeance of another world? John Tillotson, Serm. 4.

    If our fears can be awakened with the dread of evil, he has armed his laws with the terrour of eternal misery. John Rogers.

    The fear of you, and the dread of you, shall be upon every beast of the earth. Gen. ix. 2.

    To thee, of all our good the sacred spring;
    To thee, our dearest dread; to thee, our softer king. Matthew Prior.

  3. To Dreadverb

    To fear in an excessive degree.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    You may despise that which terrifies others, and which yet all, even those who most dread it, must in a little time encounter. William Wake.

  4. To Dreadverb

    To be in fear.

    Dread not, neither be afraid of them. Deut. i. 8.


  1. dread

    Dread is a strong feeling of fear or apprehension about something that may happen in the future. It's often associated with anxiety or alarm related to anticipating or expecting a negative, unpleasant, or dangerous event or situation. This emotion can be both short-term, such as fear of an upcoming exam or long-term, like worrying about a potential health issue.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Dreadverb

    to fear in a great degree; to regard, or look forward to, with terrific apprehension

  2. Dreadverb

    to be in dread, or great fear

  3. Dreadnoun

    great fear in view of impending evil; fearful apprehension of danger; anticipatory terror

  4. Dreadnoun

    reverential or respectful fear; awe

  5. Dreadnoun

    an object of terrified apprehension

  6. Dreadnoun

    a person highly revered

  7. Dreadnoun

    fury; dreadfulness

  8. Dreadnoun

    doubt; as, out of dread

  9. Dreadadjective

    exciting great fear or apprehension; causing terror; frightful; dreadful

  10. Dreadadjective

    inspiring with reverential fear; awful' venerable; as, dread sovereign; dread majesty; dread tribunal

  11. Etymology: [AS. drdan, in comp.; akin to OS. drdan, OHG. trtan, both only in comp.]


  1. Dread

    Dread is a live album by Living Colour released only in Japan in 1994. It contains live recordings from the Stain tour, an acoustic radio session and two B-sides. The live recordings were recorded on 7 June 1993 at Le Zenith in Paris, France and at a concert on 24 April 1993 at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago. The radio session was recorded for a Dutch radio show called Countdown Café in February 1993. Both of the B-sides were recorded during the Stain sessions.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Dread

    dred, n. fear: awe: the objects that excite fear.—adj. dreaded: inspiring great fear or awe.—v.t. to regard with terror: to regard with reverence.—adjs. Dread′able; Dread′ful, (orig.) full of dread: producing great fear or awe: terrible.—adv. Dread′fully.—n. Dread′fulness.—adj. Dread′less, free from dread: intrepid.—adv. Dread′lessly.—n. Dread′lessness.—adj. Dread′ly (Spens.) dreadful.—ns. Dread′naught, Dread′nought, one who dreads nothing—hence, a garment of thick cloth defending against the weather: the cloth of which it is made.—Penny dreadful, a cheap sensational serial or tale, usually bloody in subject and vulgar in tone. [M. E. dreden—A.S. on-drǽdan, to fear; Ice. ondréda, Old High Ger. in-tratan, to be afraid.]

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. DREAD

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Dread is ranked #133048 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Dread surname appeared 127 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Dread.

    86.6% or 110 total occurrences were Black.
    6.3% or 8 total occurrences were White.
    4.7% or 6 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

Anagrams for dread »

  1. readd

  2. adder

  3. dared

How to pronounce dread?

How to say dread in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of dread in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of dread in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of dread in a Sentence

  1. Charlie Brown:

    I've developed a new philosophy... I only dread one day at a time.

  2. William Shakespeare:

    O, now, for ever Farewell the tranquil mind farewell content Farewell the plumed troop and the big wars That make ambition virtue O, farewell Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump, The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife, The royal banner, and all quality, Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war And, O you mortal engines, whose rude throats The immortal Jove's dread clamours counterfeit, Farewell Othello's occupation's gone

  3. Aldous Huxley:

    The vast majority of human beings dislike and even dread all notions with which they are not familiar. Hence it comes about that at their first appearance innovators have always been devided as fools and madmen.

  4. Vivien Leigh:

    Sometimes I dread the truth of the lines I say. But the dread must never show.

  5. Jonathan Cane:

    Listen to your body and the message it’s sending. Make sure you’re thinking of running as something you want to do, not something you dread. Embrace it and remember how lucky you are to be out there.

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Translations for dread

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"dread." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 2 Oct. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/dread>.

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    be contingent upon (something that is elided)
    • A. blur
    • B. refine
    • C. jeopardize
    • D. depend

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