feeling fear; filled with apprehension:
afraid to go.
feeling regret, unhappiness, or the like:
I’m afraid we can’t go on Monday.
feeling reluctance, unwillingness, distaste, or the like:
He seemed afraid to show his own children a little kindness.
Contemporary Examples

But drawing attention to this anomaly is not something we should be afraid of, it is something we should be exposing vigorously.
Levy is Right Yousef Munayyer July 12, 2012

I’m going to start wearing the chador [a head-to-toe cloth covering] because I’m afraid of the morality police.
Iran’s Hardline Fashion Police Babak Dehghanpisheh June 23, 2011

Clearly some, not all, on the right are angry, afraid or simply freaked out by gay people.
Why Are Conservatives So Freaked Out by Gays? Dean Obeidallah February 28, 2014

I began to be afraid; everything outside seemed so—so black and uncomfortable.
Read ‘The King in Yellow,’ the ‘True Detective’ Reference That’s the Key to the Show Robert W. Chambers February 19, 2014

Encourage every rape victim and those they love to hold their heads up high and not be afraid of acknowledging what happened.
Daily Beast Readers Share Their Stories of Rape and Sexual Assault Nina Strochlic January 5, 2013

Historical Examples

She was a Pole, she had been trained in a hard school, she was not afraid.
The Destroyer Burton Egbert Stevenson

When a man has made up his mind to die he is not afraid of anything.
A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair

Guide my arm and my heart and don’t let me be afraid to die or to make her die.
In a Little Town Rupert Hughes

“No, I am afraid not,” said Nancy as they stood in the doorway.
Tutors’ Lane Wilmarth Lewis

For the first time in her life she was afraid and thoroughly unnerved.
Janet of the Dunes Harriet T. Comstock

adjective (postpositive)
(often foll by of) feeling fear or apprehension; frightened: he was afraid of cats
reluctant (to do something), as through fear or timidity: he was afraid to let himself go
often foll by that; used to lessen the effect of an unpleasant statement. regretful: I’m afraid that I shall have to tell you to go

early 14c., originally past participle of afray “frighten,” from Anglo-French afrayer, from Old French esfreer (see affray (n.)). A rare case of an English adjective that never stands before a noun. Because it was used in A.V. Bible, it acquired independent standing and thrived while affray faded, chasing out the once more common afeared. Sense in I’m afraid “I regret to say, I suspect” (without implication of fear) is first recorded 1590s.

Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone [Keats, “The Eve of St. Agnes,” 1820]


Read Also:

  • Afraid of one’s own shadow

    Very timid and fearful, as in Richard constantly worries about security; he’s afraid of his own shadow. This hyperbole has been used in English since the early 1500s, and some writers believe it originated in ancient Greece.

  • A-frame

    any upright, rigid supporting frame in the form of a triangle or an inverted V , as V . a building constructed principally of such a frame, with a steep gabled roof resting directly on a foundation. Contemporary Examples The one she picked out was a beauty, a big one, an A-frame with picture windows […]

  • Aframerican


  • Afrasia

    N Africa and SW considered together.

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