fear Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “fear” in the English Dictionary

"fear" in British English

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fearnoun [C or U]

uk   /fɪər/ us   /fɪr/
B1 an unpleasant emotion or thought that you have when you are frightened or worried by something dangerous, painful, or bad that is happening or might happen: Trembling with fear, she handed over the money to the gunman. Even when the waves grew big, the boy showed no (signs of) fear. I have a fear of heights. The low profit figures simply confirmed my worst fears. [+ that] There are fears that the disease will spread to other countries.
be in fear of your life
to be frightened that you might be killed: Lakisha sat inside, in fear of her life, until the police came.
be no fear of sth informal
to be no possibility that a particular thing will happen: Greta knows the city well, so there's no fear of us getting lost (= we will not get lost).
for fear that/of sth
C2 because you are worried that a particular thing might happen: They wouldn't let their cat outside for fear (that) it would get run over. I didn't want to move for fear of waking her up.

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fearverb

uk   /fɪər/ us   /fɪr/
B2 [T; not continuous] to be frightened of something or someone unpleasant: Most older employees fear unemployment. What do you fear most?
B2 [T; not continuous] formal to be worried or frightened that something bad might happen or might have happened: [+ (that)] Police fear (that) the couple may have drowned.formal It is feared (that) as many as two hundred passengers may have died in the crash. We huddled together, fearing we might be killed. [+ to infinitive] Fearing to go herself, she sent her son to find out the news.
I fear formal mainly UK
used to give someone news of something bad that has happened or might happen: [+ (that)] I fear (that) she's already left.

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Idioms
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of fear from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"fear" in American English

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fearnoun [C/U]

us   /fɪər/
a strong emotion caused by great worry about something dangerous, painful, or unknown that is happening or might happen: [U] Even when the boat was rocked by waves, the boy showed no fear. [C] The low sales continued, confirming our worst fears. [U] She stood very still for fear of (= because she was worried about) being noticed.
fearless
adjective us   /ˈfɪər·ləs/
He was a tough, fearless soldier.

fearverb

us   /fɪr/
to be frightened about someone or something unpleasant: [I] The cab driver was going so fast, I feared for our safety.
To fear is also to be worried or upset: [+ that clause] They fear that Congress may not allocate the money needed.
(Definition of fear from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Translations of “fear”
in Korean 두려움…
in Arabic خَوف…
in Malaysian ketakutan…
in French peur…
in Russian страх…
in Chinese (Traditional) 害怕,懼怕, 擔憂…
in Italian paura…
in Turkish korku, endişe…
in Polish strach, obawa, lęk…
in Spanish miedo, temor…
in Vietnamese sự sợ hãi…
in Portuguese medo…
in Thai ความกลัว…
in German die Furcht…
in Catalan por…
in Japanese 恐怖…
in Chinese (Simplified) 害怕,惧怕, 担忧…
in Indonesian ketakutan…
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“fear” in British English

“fear” in American English

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Avoiding common errors with the word enough.
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