Meaning of “dread” in the English Dictionary

"dread" in British English

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dreadverb [ T ]

uk /dred/ us /dred/

C2 to feel extremely worried or frightened about something that is going to happen or that might happen:

He's dreading the exam - he's sure he's going to fail.
[ + -ing verb ] I'm dreading having to meet his parents.
dread to think

C2 used to say that you do not want to think about something because it is too worrying:

I dread to think what would happen if he was left to cope on his own.

More examples

  • We are dreading the idea of having my son's friends to stay.
  • I dread to think what they say about me behind my back.
  • That night as he dreamed, the warrior was confronted by the enemy he dreaded most.
  • Although I was absolutely dreading telling Dad, he was actually very understanding when I told him.
  • What is now happening in the country is what I dreaded most - it is descending into anarchy and civil war.

dreadnoun [ U ]

uk /dred/ us /dred/
adjective [ before noun ] uk us formal

The dread spectre of civil war looms over the country.
adjective [ before noun ] uk /ˈdred.ɪd/ us /ˈdred.ɪd/ humorous

My dreaded cousin is coming to stay!

(Definition of “dread” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"dread" in American English

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dreadnoun [ U ]

us /dred/

extreme fear or anxiety about something that is going to happen or might happen:

a dread of drowning
verb [ T ] us /dred/

We dreaded hearing the results of the blood tests.

(Definition of “dread” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)