• "Scared" is an adjective that describes the feeling of fear or being frightened.
  • "Scarred" is an adjective that describes the presence of scars, which are marks left on the skin or other tissue after a wound has healed.
😨 She felt scared when she heard strange noises in the dark alley.

💥 The soldier's face was scarred from the battles he had endured.

When to use scarred or scared

Use "scared" when describing the emotional state of fear or fright. This word focuses on the feeling of being frightened or apprehensive.

  • For example, you might feel scared during a suspenseful movie, when facing the unknown, or when encountering a potential threat. It's about the immediate emotional response to a situation.

On the other hand, use "scarred" when referring to physical or metaphorical scars. This word is associated with marks left on the skin or other tissue after a wound has healed, either physically or emotionally.

  • For instance, someone might be scarred by a traumatic experience, leaving lasting emotional marks.
  • Physically, scars are visible reminders of past injuries or surgeries, showcasing the healing process despite the fact that these words look similar.
  • You can also be mentally scarred by an experience that leaves a lasting mark on your mind. The use of "scarred" extends beyond immediate emotional reactions to encompass the lasting effects of experiences.

Here's a helpful trick to remember

To differentiate between the two, think of the extra "r" in "scarred" as representing the rugged or marked appearance of scars. The additional letter serves as a visual cue to remind you that "scarred" involves the presence of scars, either physical or metaphorical, while "scared" focuses on the immediate emotion of fear.

You might also think of the phrase "scaredy-cat" or "scarecrow" to remind yourself that "scared" has a meaning related to fear.

Helpful tips

"Scared" is an adjective describing the state of being afraid, while "scarred" is an adjective that describes someone or something with scars. Remember, use "scared" to refer to the emotional state, and "scarred" to convey a lasting physical or mental mark. Practice distinguishing their roles in sentences to ensure accurate usage in different contexts.

Example sentences


  1. The old tree was scarred with carvings from generations of lovers.
  2. The survivor's body was scarred from the injuries sustained in the accident.
  3. The war veteran bore a face scarred by the memories of battle.
  4. The ancient ruins were scarred by the passage of time and weather.
  5. The boxer's fists were heavily scarred from years of training and competition.


  1. The children were scared of the thunder during the storm.
  2. She gets scared easily while watching horror movies.
  3. He looked scared as he faced the daunting task ahead.
  4. The unexpected noise in the dark alley made me feel scared.
  5. The sudden appearance of the wild animal left us scared and frozen.

Examples from the web


"No Casualties, but a City Scarred." - BNN Breaking
"War-scarred faces on paper." - The Guardian


"I’m so scared for my friends." - The Guardian
"I felt alone and scared." - The Guardian
How to Use Scared or Scarred in a Sentence

Usage of Scarred and Scared over time

The Ngram graph below shows how often "scarred" and "scared" have been used from the 1800s to the 2000s. Both words have seen steady use throughout time, but you can see that "scared" sees more use than "scarred", especially given the sharp increase in usage in the 2000s.

How to Use Scared or Scarred in a Sentence


What does "scarred for life" mean?

  • Meaning: This phrase is used to express that someone has experienced a traumatic event or emotional ordeal that will leave a lasting impact. It implies that the person will carry the effects of this experience throughout their life, often manifesting in emotional, psychological, or sometimes physical ways.
  • Example: After witnessing the accident, she was scarred for life and couldn't forget the horrifying scene.

What does "scared for one's life" mean?

  • Meaning: This expression conveys a state of extreme fear or concern for one's safety or well-being. When someone is scared for their life, they believe they are in imminent danger, and their fear is focused on the potential threat to their own existence.
  • Example: As the storm intensified, she became scared for her life, seeking shelter from the approaching danger.

What does "scared to death" mean?

  • Meaning: This phrase is used figuratively to emphasize extreme fear or anxiety, suggesting that something is so frightening that it could potentially cause a person's death. It is an exaggerated expression to convey the intensity of fear experienced in a particular situation.
  • Example: The sudden appearance of the wild animal in the dark alley scared her to death, and she ran away in panic.


In summary, "scared" relates to the emotional state of fear, while "scarred" pertains to the presence of scars. Remember the extra "r" in "scarred" to visualize the rugged appearance of scars, and use these words accurately despite their visual similarity. Whether describing fear or the aftermath of healing, choosing between "scared" and "scarred" relies on recognizing the emotional or physical context of the situation. Now you'll never get the two mixed up again!

How to Use Scared or Scarred in a Sentence

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How to Use Scared or Scarred in a Sentence


Definition of SCARED
thrown into or being in a state of fear, fright, or panic… See the full definition
How to Use Scared or Scarred in a Sentence
Definition of SCARRED
having or marked by a scar or many scars… See the full definition
How to Use Scared or Scarred in a Sentence