Etymology: Middle English feren, from Old English fǣran, from fǣr
Date: before 12th century
1. archaic frighten
2. archaic to feel fear in (oneself)
3. to have a reverential awe of <fear God> 4. to be afraid of ; expect with alarm <fear the worst> intransitive verb to be afraid or apprehensive <feared for their lives> • fearer noun II. noun Etymology: Middle English fer, from Old English fǣr sudden danger; akin to Old High German fāra ambush and perhaps to Latin periculum attempt, peril, Greek peiran to attempt Date: 12th century 1. a. an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger b. (1) an instance of this emotion (2) a state marked by this emotion 2. anxious concern ; solicitude 3. profound reverence and awe especially toward God 4. reason for alarm ; danger Synonyms: fear, dread, fright, alarm, panic, terror, trepidation mean painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger. fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually loss of courage <fear of the unknown>. dread usually adds the idea of intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety <faced the meeting with dread>. fright implies the shock of sudden, startling fear <fright at being awakened suddenly>. alarm suggests a sudden and intense awareness of immediate danger <view the situation with alarm>. panic implies unreasoning and overmastering fear causing hysterical activity <the news caused widespread panic>. terror implies the most extreme degree of fear <immobilized with terror>. trepidation adds to dread the implications of timidity, trembling, and hesitation <raised the subject with trepidation>.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.