1 feeling fear; frightened because you think that you might be hurt or sufferDon't be afraid. afraid of someone/somethingIt's all over. There's nothing to be afraid of now.Are you afraid of spiders? afraid of doing somethingI started to feel afraid of going out alone at night. afraid to do somethingShe was afraid to open the door.2 worried about what might happen afraid of doing somethingShe was afraid of upsetting her parents.Julie was afraid of making a fool of herself. afraid to do somethingDon't be afraid to ask if you don't understand.The boy wasn't afraid to say what he believed. afraid (that…)We were afraid (that) we were going to capsize the boat.3 afraid for someone/something worried or frightened that something unpleasant, dangerous, etc. will happen to a particular person or thingI'm not afraid for me, but for the baby.They had already fired three people and he was afraid for his job.IDIOMThesaurus: afraidscared frightened terrified alarmed paranoidThese words all describe feeling or showing fear.afraid [not before noun] feeling fear; worried that something bad might happen: There's nothing to be afraid of. Aren't you afraid (that) you'll fall?scared feeling fear; worried that something bad might happen: The thieves got scared and ran away. She was scared that the glass would break.frightened feeling fear; worried that something bad might happen: a frightened childafraid, scared, or frightened?Scared is more informal, more common in speech, and often describes small fears.Afraid cannot come before a noun. It can only take the preposition of, not about. If you are afraid/scared/frightened of something, or afraid/scared/frightened to do something, you think you are in danger of being hurt or suffering in some way. If you are scared/frightened about something, it is less a fear for your personal safety and more a worry that something unpleasant might happen.terrified very frightened: I was terrified (that) she might follow me. She looked at him with wide, terrified eyes. I was terrified of flying.alarmed afraid that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen: She was alarmed at the prospect of traveling alone.paranoid (somewhat informal) afraid or suspicious in a way that is not reasonable: You're just being paranoid.patternsafraid/scared/frightened/terrified of spiders, etc.scared/frightened/paranoid about …afraid/scared/frightened/terrified that …afraid/scared/frightened to open the door, etc.Don't be afraid/scared/frightened/alarmed.
used as a polite way of telling someone something that is unpleasant or disappointing, or that you are sorry aboutI can't help you, I'm afraid.I'm afraid we can't come.I'm afraid that it's not finished yet.He's no better, I'm afraid to say.“Is there any left?” “ I'm afraid not.”“Will it hurt?” “ I'm afraid so.”I'm afraid