• 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. 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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