What are the denotations for the word 'fear'?

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samcestmoi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The denotation of a word is its direct, literal meaning. In this case, to find the denotations for the word “fear,” all you would have to do is look the word up in the dictionary. Fear can be a noun or a verb. As a noun, it can refer to the emotion of dread or the thing that causes that dread. For example, one could say “She has a fear of lettuce,” or “Lettuce is an irrational fear.”  In the first sentence the subject is experiencing the fear; in the second, the fear is a characteristic of the lettuce itself. As a verb, the word means “to be scared,” as in, “She fears the greenness of lettuce.”  The word can also be more general, meaning to experience a vague negative apprehension: “She fears for the future.”

Check out an online dictionary for even more denotations – by looking at all the subtly different ways we use such a simple word as “fear,” you can really get an appreciation for the versatility and nuance in language.