Ascared, sometimes spelled a-scared, is an American colloquialism formed by fusing the synonyms scared and afraid. The word appears more often in speech than in writing.


In writing, it’s sometimes used with a mocking tone, often implying that the ascared person’s fear is childish—for example:

So, then the Arab League got ascared that Qaddafi would retaliate against them. [comment on Wall Street Journal]

It also appears in written dialogue in fictional works—for example:

“I wonder,” said Hopalong, glancing through the door, “if them friends of mine reckon I’m any ascared to go in that tent?” [Bar-20 Days, Clarence E. Mulford]

An’ somehow you’re glad you’re goin’, an’ you ain’t a-scared to die … [“The Little Old Log Cabin,” Robert W. Service]

Although ascared may be useful in written dialogue, it would be considered out of place formal or serious writing.

1 thought on “Ascared”

  1. Ascared feels like improper grammar. Is it considered correct at all? I understand that it can be used when speaking casually, but if it cannot be used in formal or serious writing, is it not grammatically correct?


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