v. scared, scar·ing, scares
To strike with sudden fear; alarm. See Synonyms at frighten.
To become frightened: a child who scares easily.
1. A condition or sensation of sudden fear: That mask gave me a real scare.
2. 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.
scare up Informal
To gather or prepare with considerable effort or ingenuity: managed to scare up some folding chairs for the unexpected crowd.
[Middle English skerren, scaren, from Old Norse skirra, from skjarr, timid.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.