a. Experiencing fear; frightened: fearful about losing one's job; fearful of a scornful response.
b. Inclined to feel anxiety or apprehension; timid; nervous.
c. Indicating anxiety or fear: "Sare faltered, a fearful look clouding her face" (Donna Morrisey).
2. Causing or capable of causing fear; frightening: a fearful howling.
3. Extreme, as in degree or extent. Used especially of something negative: a fearful blunder; fearful poverty.
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.