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How To Say "To Fear" In Spanish

Learning how to express emotions and actions in different languages can be a fascinating journey. In this article, we will explore how to say the English verb "to fear" in Spanish, delving into its meaning, regional variations, and providing practical examples to help you grasp its usage. 

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What is "To Fear" in Spanish?

In Spanish, the verb "to fear" is translated as temer (IPA: /teˈmeɾ/). It is a common and versatile verb used to convey the feeling of fear or apprehension towards something or someone. Just like its English counterpart, "temer" carries a sense of uncertainty or dread and can be used in various contexts.

Meaning of "To Fear" in Spanish

When using "temer" in Spanish, it implies being afraid or concerned about potential harm or danger. It is essential to understand how this verb is employed in different regions as its usage may vary slightly. These are the main meanings of "temer" in Spanish: 

  • To hold someone or something as an object of fear.
  • To fear a harm, by virtue of antecedent grounds.
  • To suspect, to believe.
  • To feel fear. I fear for my children.

Synonyms of "To Fear" in Spanish

Here are some synonyms of "temer" in Spanish along with their meanings:

  • Asustar (IPA: /a-susˈtar/): To frighten or scare someone. To cause fear or alarm in another person.
  • Espantar (IPA: /espanˈtar/): To scare or startle someone suddenly. To cause fright or fear in someone or an animal.
  • Atemorizar (IPA: /ate̞moɾiˈθaɾ/): To intimidate or terrify someone. To instill fear or dread in another person.
  • Dar miedo (IPA: /daɾ ˈmjedo/): Literally translates to "to give fear." To be frightening or intimidating.
  • Intimidar (IPA: /intimiˈðaɾ/): To intimidate or menace someone to create fear or discourage them from taking certain actions.
  • Dar susto (IPA: /daɾ ˈsusto/): Literally translates to "to give a fright." To startle or scare someone.
  • Causar pavor (IPA: /kausar paˈβoɾ/): To cause terror or horror. To elicit intense fear or dread.
  • Infundir miedo (IPA: /infunˈdiɾ ˈmjedo/): To instill fear. To make someone feel afraid or apprehensive.
  • Atemorar (IPA: /ate̞moˈɾaɾ/): To terrify or intimidate someone, generating a feeling of fear or unease.

—The noun, adjective, and adverb forms of fear in Spanish (fearing, fear, fearful, fearless, fearfully) are analyzed in other blog posts. 

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Regional Variations

While the aforementioned verbs are understood and used throughout the Spanish-speaking world, there are some regional differences in how fear is commonly expressed:

  • Spain: In Spain, "tener miedo" and "temer" are both widely used, but "temer" may be favored in formal or literary contexts. In everyday conversation, you are more likely to hear "tener miedo."
  • Mexico: Mexican Spanish often uses "tener miedo" and "asustarse" interchangeably. The latter, "asustarse," emphasizes the action of getting scared and is often used when someone startles or surprises you.
  • Argentina: In Argentina, "tener miedo" remains the most common expression for "to fear." However, some regions may use "temer" more frequently, especially in written language.
  • Colombia: "Tenerle miedo a alguien/algo" is quite prevalent in Colombian Spanish. This construction explicitly indicates the object of fear, offering a clear context for the fear being experienced.

How to Say "To Fear" in Spanish: Sample Sentences

Here are five sample sentences you can use to say "to fear" in Spanish:

  • Tengo miedo de los truenos.

(I am afraid of thunderstorms.)

  • María teme perder su trabajo.

(Maria fears losing her job.)

  • ¡No te asustes! Es solo un juego.

(Don't be scared! It's just a game.)

  • Juan le tiene miedo a los perros grandes.

(Juan is afraid of big dogs.)

  • La oscuridad me da miedo. 

(Darkness scares me.)

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Mastering emotions in a new language opens up opportunities to connect with others and understand different cultures better. Now, armed with the knowledge of how to say the English verb "to fear" in Spanish as "temer," you can confidently express your apprehensions and worries en español. Remember, language learning is a gradual process, and embracing regional variations will enrich your linguistic journey. Practice using "temer" in various contexts, and soon you will become a more proficient Spanish speaker. ¡Buena suerte!

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