As in the title, what is a word for someone who follows some person, concept, or idea out of fear of what will happen if they don't follow?

For example, a person who follows some god or religion out of fear of what will happen if they don't.

I'd love a "religious" word ala zealot, fanatic, devout, etc.

  • 1
    A sheep? A coward? intimidated? submissive? We need more context. – Jim Oct 9 '14 at 19:16
  • Added a little more context. – oconnor0 Oct 9 '14 at 19:18

It’s not exactly fear-specific, but you might call such a person a thrall.



[. . .]

  1. a person who is morally or mentally enslaved by some power, influence, or the like

[. . .]

The younger they are, the easier to brainwash and keep in thrall by sheer terror.

Source: dictionary.com definitions for “thrall”


I would suggest reverent.

When you have great awe and respect for someone or something, and you show it by respectfully worshiping that person, thing, deity, or musical group, you are being reverent.


Reverence is often used in religious contexts and it can be a feeling of awe. Thus, you can consider in awe of (someone or something).

awe (n) an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like:

in awe of God; in awe of great political figures.


  • I really like "reverent", but I'm looking for a word with a little more "terror" in it. – oconnor0 Oct 9 '14 at 19:54
  • @oconnor0: How about "fear-mongered" or "intimidated" ? – 0.. Oct 9 '14 at 20:07

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