1. Filled with fear; frightened: afraid of ghosts; afraid to die; afraid for his life.
2. Having feelings of aversion or unwillingness in regard to something: not afraid of hard work; afraid to show emotion.
3. Filled with regret or concern. Used especially to soften an unpleasant statement: I'm afraid you're wrong.
[Middle English affraied, past participle of affraien, to frighten, from Old French esfraier, esfreer, to disturb, of Germanic origin; see prī- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.