Improve your English – how to describe your fears

Improve your English – how to describe your fears

Creepy-crawlies, ghosts and ghouls—there are plenty of things that people can be afraid of. What are you afraid of? There must be something! Can you think of other words that mean ‘afraid’?

Perhaps you thought of ‘terrified’? Or ‘scared’? What about ‘horrified’, ‘frightened’ and ‘petrified’? These are all words that mean the same as ‘afraid’.

Sometimes people have phobias. The word ‘phobia’ comes from the Greek language and means ‘fear’. There are over 500 recognised phobias today. Some of them are really common, for example:

Arachnophobia: Fear of spiders

Acrophobia: Fear of heights

Aviophobia: Fear of flying

Claustrophobia: Fear of confined and small places.

However, there are some rare phobias too, for example:

Bibliophobia: Fear of books

Lachanophobia: Fear of vegetables

Psychrophobia: Fear of cold

Papyrophobia: Fear of paper

To describe how afraid we are of something we also have some idioms.

For instance you might say: “I am scared to death of snakes”, which is an exaggeration meaning you are very scared.

Other examples include:

“I get goose bumps when I think of skydiving.” (Goose bumps are those little pimples on your skin that make the hair rise, sometimes caused by the cold.)

“Thinking about the ghost I saw sends chills down my spine.”(A chill down your spine is the feeling you get when a shiver goes from the top of your neck down to your back.)

“I was shaking like a leaf after seeing all those spiders!” (If you were shaking like a leaf, you were shivering because you were so scared.)

“My blood ran cold when the elevator suddenly stopped and the lights turned off. Then, I heard a spooky sound and my hairs stood on end!” (When your blood runs cold you almost loose feeling in your body and you’re frozen with fear.)

Try out these idioms next time something spooky and scary happens to you. If you aren’t confident in discussing your fears yet and want to learn more, there is a fun Upper-Intermediate class where we talk about our fears and learn to overcome them, titled: Overcoming Your Fears. Try practicing and then discuss with us rather than looking like a deer caught in headlights (so frightened you can’t move).

Image: giovzaid85

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