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Denotation vs. Connotation

fearful

[feer-fuh l] /ˈfɪər fəl/
adjective
1.
causing or apt to cause fear; frightening:
a fearful apparition.
2.
feeling fear, dread, apprehension, or solicitude:
fearful for his life; fearful lest he commit suicide.
3.
full of awe or reverence:
fearful of the Lord.
4.
showing or caused by fear:
fearful behavior.
5.
extreme in size, intensity, or badness:
a fearful head cold; fearful poverty.
Origin of fearful
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English ferful. See fear, -ful
Related forms
fearfully, adverb
fearfulness, noun
overfearful, adjective
overfearfully, adverb
overfearfulness, noun
prefearful, adjective
prefearfully, adverb
unfearful, adjective
unfearfully, adverb
unfearfulness, noun
Can be confused
fearful, fearsome.
Synonyms
2. afraid, timid, timorous, apprehensive, uneasy, distrustful; solicitous, anxious, concerned, worried.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fearfully
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You may know the wicked, on the other hand, by their extreme shyness; they crawl out slowly and fearfully; they hang back.

    How France Built Her Cathedrals Elizabeth Boyle O'Reilly
  • "It's fearfully hard work, of course," he commented, when she had finished.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • But we did not let ourselves be discouraged, although we could not help feeling that the odds against us were fearfully great.

  • I called Father Dan's attention to this, and in a moment he was fearfully excited.

  • In Fig. 192 an attempt is made to restore this fearfully great bird, the Dinornis.

  • I was afraid of the storm, and yet I was fearfully, frightfully glad of it.

  • It is true the nights were fearfully dark, so that the shape of the land could not be made out.

    Sketches From My Life Hobart Pasha
British Dictionary definitions for fearfully

fearfully

/ˈfɪəfʊlɪ/
adverb
1.
in a fearful manner
2.
(intensifier): you're fearfully kind

fearful

/ˈfɪəfʊl/
adjective
1.
having fear; afraid
2.
causing fear; frightening
3.
(informal) very unpleasant or annoying: a fearful cold
Derived Forms
fearfulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fearfully

fearful

adj.

mid-14c., "causing fear," from fear + -ful. Meaning "full of fear, timid" (now less common) also is from mid-14c. As a mere emphatic, from 1630s. Related: Fearfully; fearfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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