[ adjective ] causing fear or dread or terror


"the awful war" "an awful risk" "dire news" "a career or vengeance so direful that London was shocked" "the dread presence of the headmaster" "a dreaded disease" "a dreadful storm" "a fearful howling"

Used in print

(Kenneth Allsop, The Bootleggers and Their Era...)

O_'_Banion was a complex and frightening man , whose bright_blue eyes stared with a kind_of frozen candour into others ' .

(L. Don Leet and Florence J. Leet, editors, The World of...)

The role of an earthquake in starting the destruction of whole cities is tremendously frightening , but fire may actually be the principal agent in a particular disaster .

(Robert E. Lane, The Liberties of Wit: Humanism, Critici...)

I mean something more like Freud 's concept of the utility of `` play '' to a small child : he plays `` house '' or `` doctor '' or `` fireman '' as a way of mastering slightly frightening experiences , reliving them imaginatively until they are under control .

Related terms


[ noun ] to inspire with fear

Related terms

bullying frighten