Spooky Words for Halloween: Fear, Scare, & Afraid

Happy Halloween!

Today we’re looking at how the words “fear,” “scare,” and “afraid” are different.

Halloween Word Wednesday

So what is “fear” exactly? When I looked at the words I wanted to discuss for this Word Wednesday, each frequently used another to define itself.

Fear as a noun is an emotion, an unpleasant or distressing one, caused by anticipation or awareness of impending danger, evil, or pain. It doesn’t matter if the thing feared is real or imagined…the distress is there.

Now that we have a clear meaning for fear, onward to the verb forms!


If you scare someone, you fill them with fear or terror, usually suddenly. Alarm is a good synonym here—it rattles you awake suddenly. (At least mine does. I’m not a morning person in the least.)

Scare can also be a noun:

Think of a visit to a doctor’s office and the seemingly interminable wait for test results—this can be a scare.

  • A widespread state of alarm, where a population panics


To be afraid is to feel or be filled with one of these emotions

  • fear,
  • regret or unhappiness, or
  • unwillingness or dislike

Treat afraid as a more general sense rather than one specific instance.

In a powerful safety video one of my friends found, they explained the word afraid to help people keep their senses alert for the things that could go wrong instead of just proceeding through their work obliviously.


Fear as a verb can be used with or without an object.

It can mean

  • to have fear (of something) or to be afraid—see what I mean about circular reasoning?
  • to be in awe of something, or
  • to feel uneasy about something.

Fear is a lot closer to afraid than scared is to either of them.

Can you think of any other spooky Halloween words related to fear?

Related Posts:

Spooky, Frightful, & Scary

Halloween is Here Again

Halloween Drama: Taking Candy From a Baby

Learning new words and being able to find the word that means exactly what the story needs can mean the difference between a mediocre story and a brilliant one.

Word Wednesday: Memories and Treasures

Today’s Word Wednesday is not really about the meaning of words. Normally I would sit here at my desk and pound out some interesting facts about definitions and word origins, but today we are going to be more philosophical. And I’m going to apologize for disregarding fan input during my Facebook poll…

To anyone who actually voted on book titles for Book 3, I’m sorry that I couldn’t take your advice. While I was editing Book 3, I couldn’t help but feel that my title was mismatched to the contents of the story. After all, when your major characters are dealing with amnesia, flashbacks, and the consequences of remembering or not remembering something, it’s hard to justify a title about treasures.

There were NO treasures discussed in any material way in Book 3. So “Sea Treasures” is just a bad name for that book. “Sea Memories,” however, though perhaps less catchy or less glamorous, hits a theme in the book that I would have been remiss not to follow.

I couldn’t be more excited to tell you that the third book in the Sea Deception series, Sea Memories, comes out tomorrow.

Sea Memories book cover

This is easily my favorite book cover in the series so far.

This book is the culmination of several years’ worth of effort. I decided to write three books and release them together, an undertaking that pushed the bounds of my skill set. I’m really proud to say that I did it.

However, I’m also really excited to take a moment to take a deep breath before diving into my next writing project. I’ve got the next book in the series mostly plotted and a children’s book’s illustrations to focus on next.

I can’t wait to hear what you think of Kai and Maryn’s latest adventures.

Of course, if you haven’t read the first book in the series, you definitely need to start there.