My cousin is really bad at math. Whenever she looks at a math book, she runs away.

She is 'scared' of math. I know this is not the correct word to use. Can someone please give me a word that means 'afraid' in this context.

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    It's quite acceptable terminology, as seen in this publication from the University of Hull: Maths phobia and how to beat it / From the Skills Team, University of Hull / This guide aims to discuss the problems people have with learning and using mathematics, and explain strategies to counteract them. ... The fear of maths / Many people have a deep-seated fear of mathematics, and maths tutors see a lot of scared students. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 24 '14 at 11:31
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    Scared is fine. "She fears math." might do as well. Some notes on usage: oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/scared and about math-fear: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematical_anxiety – Kris Dec 24 '14 at 13:06

Scared or afraid are perfectly acceptable words here to show her worry about the subject. Apprehensive is another word which could be used here to show her anxiety or alarm here.


I would probably describe her as being intimidated by Math.

(though actually I would say "Maths", being British)

One dictionary definition of intimidated

  1. To make timid; fill with fear: The size of the opposing players intimidated us.
  2. To coerce or deter, as with threats: The police intimidated the suspect into signing a false statement.

Obviously it is definition 1 that applies here.


You can term it 'mathematics anxiety'.

or simply say:

  • bad at maths

  • scared of Maths

  • fear of maths

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