Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Filled with fear: afraid of ghosts; afraid to die; afraid for his life.
  • adj. Having feelings of aversion or unwillingness in regard to something: not afraid of hard work; afraid to show emotion.
  • adj. Filled with regret or concern. Used especially to soften an unpleasant statement: I'm afraid you're wrong.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Impressed with fear or apprehension; in fear.
  • adj. regretful, sorry

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Impressed with fear or apprehension; in fear; apprehensive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Impressed with fear or apprehension; fearful: followed by of before the object of fear, where that is not an infinitive: as, to be afraid of death; I am afraid to go.
  • Synonyms Afraid, Frightened, Terrified, timid, shy, apprehensive, troubled, suspicious, distrustful. Afraid expresses a less degree of fear than frightened or terrified, which describe outward states. In colloquial language, I am afraid is often nearly equivalent to I suspect, I am inclined to think, or the like, and is regularly used as a kind of polite introduction to a correction, objection, etc., or to make a statement sound less positive: as, I am afraid you are wrong; I am afraid that argument won't hold.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. filled with regret or concern; used often to soften an unpleasant statement
  • adj. having feelings of aversion or unwillingness
  • adj. feeling worry or concern or insecurity
  • adj. filled with fear or apprehension

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English affraied, past participle of affraien, to frighten, from Old French esfraier, esfreer, to disturb, of Germanic origin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English affrayed, affraied, past participle of afraien ("to affray"), from Anglo-Norman afrayer ("to terrify, disquiet, disturb"), from Old French effreer, esfreer ("to disturb, remove the peace from"), from es- ("ex-") + freer ("to secure, secure the peace"), from Frankish *friþu (“security, peace”), from Proto-Germanic *friþuz (“peace”), from Proto-Germanic *frijōnan (“to free; to love”), from Proto-Indo-European *prāy-, *prēy- (“to like, love”). Compare also afeard. More at free, friend.

Examples

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  • 'For to be afraid of oneself is the last horror.' -The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis

    February 20, 2008