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

Middle English affraied, past participle of affraien, to frighten, from Old French esfraier, esfreer, to disturb, of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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. (Wiktionary)

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