What does fearful mean?

Definitions for fearful
ˈfɪər fəlfear·ful

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. fearfuladjective

    experiencing or showing fear

    "a fearful glance"; "fearful of criticism"

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

    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. cowardly, fearfuladjective

    lacking courage; ignobly timid and faint-hearted

    "cowardly dogs, ye will not aid me then"- P.B.Shelley

  4. fearful, frightfuladjective

    extremely distressing

    "fearful slum conditions"; "a frightful mistake"

  5. fearful, timorous, trepidadjective

    timid by nature or revealing timidity

    "timorous little mouse"; "in a timorous tone"; "cast fearful glances at the large dog"


  1. fearfuladjective


  2. fearfuladjective

    Frightened, filled with terror.

  3. fearfuladjective


Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Fearfuladjective

    Etymology: fear and full.

    He’s gentle, and not fearful. William Shakespeare, Tempest.

    The Irish are more fearful to offend the law than the English. John Davies, on Ireland.

    I have made my heroine fearful of death, which neither Cassandra nor Cleopatra would have been. John Dryden, Auren. Pref.

    Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises. Ex. xv. 11.

    Neither fast to friend, nor fearful to foe. Roger Ascham, Schoolm.

    Against such monsters God maintained his own, by fearful execution of extraordinary judgment upon them. Richard Hooker.

    What God did command touching Canaan, concerneth not us any otherwise than only as a fearful pattern of his just displeasure. Richard Hooker, b. v. s. 17.

    All torment, trouble, wonder, and amazement
    Inhabits here: some heav’nly power guide us
    Out of this fearful country. William Shakespeare, Tempest.

    It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebr. x. 31.

    Lay down by those pleasures the fearful and dangerous thunders and lightnings, the horrible and frequent earthquakes, and then there will be found no comparison. Walter Raleigh.

    This is the natural fruit of sin, and the present revenge which it takes upon sinners, besides that fearful punishment which shall be inflicted on them in another life. John Tillotson.


  1. fearful

    Fear is an intensely unpleasant emotion in response to perceiving or recognizing a danger or threat. Fear causes physiological changes that may produce behavioral reactions such as mounting an aggressive response or fleeing the threat. Fear in human beings may occur in response to a certain stimulus occurring in the present, or in anticipation or expectation of a future threat perceived as a risk to oneself. The fear response arises from the perception of danger leading to confrontation with or escape from/avoiding the threat (also known as the fight-or-flight response), which in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) can be a freeze response or paralysis. In humans and other animals, fear is modulated by the process of cognition and learning. Thus, fear is judged as rational or appropriate and irrational or inappropriate. An irrational fear is called a phobia. Fear is closely related to the emotion anxiety, which occurs as the result of threats that are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable. The fear response serves survival by engendering appropriate behavioral responses, so it has been preserved throughout evolution. Sociological and organizational research also suggests that individuals' fears are not solely dependent on their nature but are also shaped by their social relations and culture, which guide their understanding of when and how much fear to feel.Fear is sometimes incorrectly considered the opposite of courage. For the reason that courage is a willingness to face adversity, fear is an example of a condition that makes the exercise of courage possible.


  1. fearful

    Fearful is an adjective describing someone or something that is frightened, scared or apprehensive. It can also represent a feeling of apprehension or anxiety about a possible or imminent situation or event. Fearful can also pertain to showing or expressing fear.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Fearfuladjective

    full of fear, apprehension, or alarm; afraid; frightened

  2. Fearfuladjective

    inclined to fear; easily frightened; without courage; timid

  3. Fearfuladjective

    indicating, or caused by, fear

  4. Fearfuladjective

    inspiring fear or awe; exciting apprehension or terror; terrible; frightful; dreadful

How to pronounce fearful?

How to say fearful in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of fearful in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of fearful in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of fearful in a Sentence

  1. Erica Jong:

    I have not ceased being fearful, but I have ceased to let fear control me. I have accepted fear as a part of life--specifically the fear of change, the fear of the unknown and I have gone ahead despite the pounding in my heart that says turn back, turn back, you'll die if you venture too far.

  2. Washington Lt. Gov Owen:

    I don't want the people who are on the floor being fearful of doing their job, i don't want parents concerned about the safety of their kids as pages.

  3. Russell Maryland:

    North Texas's very sad, the situation that we're in right now, the world is changing. The city is changing. And unfortunately you have a set of people in this town that are fearful of the change. And what do the fearful do ? Instill fear.

  4. Lao Tzu:

    Seek not happiness too greedily, and be not fearful of happiness.

  5. Julie Chung:

    They're fearful of losing, they're fearful of the free and fair, transparent system. They're fearful of losing their grip on power. As such, that fear of democracy, I think, has contributed to triggering these kinds of actions, repressive actions, because they have no confidence in their own ability to have the people support them.

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Translations for fearful

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • бая́зныBelarusian
  • уплашен, страшен, ужасен, страхливBulgarian
  • ängstlich, furchtbar, furchtsamGerman
  • τρομερός, φοβερός, φοβισμένος, τρομακτικόςGreek
  • temeroso, miedosoSpanish
  • terrible, craintive, craintif, redoutable, effrayante, peureux, peureuse, effrayant, affreuse, affreuxFrench
  • faitaghManx
  • երկչոտArmenian
  • takutIndonesian
  • impaurito, spaventato, pavidoItalian
  • timidus, meticulosus, pavidusLatin
  • biedējošs, nobijies, biedējošaLatvian
  • Com medoPortuguese
  • groaznicRomanian
  • страшный, пугливый, испуганный, ужасныйRussian
  • korkuluTurkish
  • sợ sệt, sợ, đáng sợ, sợ hãiVietnamese

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"fearful." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/fearful>.

Discuss these fearful definitions with the community:

1 Comment
  • Ann Williams
    Ann Williams
    i am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    LikeReply8 years ago

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assist or encourage, usually in some wrongdoing
  • A. lucubrate
  • B. flub
  • C. abet
  • D. descant

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