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Fear vs. Scared: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 20, 2024
Fear is a noun referring to an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, while scared is an adjective describing the feeling of being frightened.

Key Differences

Fear, as a noun, denotes the emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger. Scared, as an adjective, describes the state or feeling of experiencing fear.
Fear can also be used as a verb, meaning to feel apprehensive or uneasy about something. When someone is scared, it implies they are currently experiencing the sensation of fear.
Fear can refer to both the immediate response to danger as well as a prolonged state of anxiety. Being scared is generally a reaction to a specific and immediate threat.
Fear is often considered a more general and encompassing term, which can include various levels of anxiety and apprehension. Scared, on the other hand, is a more direct and intense experience of fear.
Both fear and being scared are natural emotional responses, but fear can be a broader concept including psychological and physiological aspects, while scared is more about the immediate emotional reaction.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech

Noun (and verb).


Refers to the emotion or the act of feeling frightened.
Describes the state of experiencing fear.


Can be a prolonged state or immediate.
Generally immediate and specific.


Broad, encompassing various types of anxieties.
Direct and intense experience of fear.


Both psychological and physiological aspects.
Primarily the emotional reaction.

Fear and Scared Definitions


A feeling of anxiety about something.
The fear of failure often holds people back.


Feeling frightened or afraid.
She was scared during the thunderstorm.


Concern or apprehension.
There is a growing fear of economic recession.


Alarmed or startled.
I'm easily scared by horror movies.


An unpleasant emotion caused by danger.
His fear of heights kept him from climbing the ladder.


Being in a state of fear.
The haunted house left him feeling scared.


To be afraid of something or someone.
She fears spiders more than anything else.


Exhibiting signs of fear.
The scared puppy hid under the bed.


To anticipate with dread.
He fears the outcome of the medical test.


Nervous or apprehensive about a specific thing.
He was scared about his first day at school.


A very unpleasant or disturbing feeling caused by the presence or imminence of danger
Our fears intensified as the storm approached.


To strike with sudden fear; alarm.


A state or condition marked by this feeling
Living in constant fear of attack.
Saved as much as he could for fear of losing his job.


To become frightened
A child who scares easily.


A condition or sensation of sudden fear
That mask gave me a real scare.


A general state of alarm; a panic
A bomb scare that necessitated evacuating the building.


Serving or intended to frighten people
Scare stories.
Scare tactics.


Feeling fear; afraid, frightened.


Simple past tense and past participle of scare


Made afraid;
The frightened child cowered in the corner
Too shocked and scared to move


Can 'fear' be used as a verb?

Yes, like in 'I fear the dark'.

Is 'fear' always negative?

Mostly, though it can be a protective response.

Can 'fear' be a long-term feeling?

Yes, it can be prolonged.

Does 'scared' imply weakness?

Not necessarily, it's a natural emotional response.

Does 'fear' imply a specific threat?

Not always, it can be general.

What does 'scared' describe?

A state of feeling fear or fright.

Is 'scared' a temporary feeling?

Often, it's in response to a specific situation.

Can 'scared' be used for animals?

Yes, as in 'The dog looked scared'.

Is 'scared' the same as terrified?

Scared is less intense than terrified.

Can someone be 'scared' without immediate danger?

Yes, like being scared of potential outcomes.

Can 'fear' be positive?

In some cases, it can be a motivator.

What does 'fear' mean?

It's an emotion caused by perceived danger or threat.

Can 'fear' lead to physical reactions?

Yes, like increased heart rate.

Can 'fear' be irrational?

Yes, like in phobias.

How do people express being 'scared'?

Through body language or verbally.

Do children experience 'scared' differently than adults?

Their fears are often more vivid but can be similar.

Is 'fear' used in psychological contexts?

Yes, it's a common topic in psychology.

Is 'fear' a basic human emotion?

Yes, it's one of the basic emotions.

Can 'fear' be controlled?

With practice and techniques, it can be managed.

Is 'scared' a response to a threat?

Typically, it's a response to a perceived threat.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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