balance of terror

noun

Definition of balance of terror 

: a situation in which the threat of mutual annihilation by nations with the capability to wage nuclear war serves as a deterrent against military aggression and the use of nuclear weapons Change, unfamiliarity, and the disconcerting potentialities of technology make balance of terror constantly precarious. —Henry T. Nash, Nuclear Weapons and International Behavior, 1975

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of balance of terror

1955, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about balance of terror

Share balance of terror

Statistics for balance of terror

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for balance of terror

The first known use of balance of terror was in 1955

See more words from the same year

Comments on balance of terror

What made you want to look up balance of terror? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

by word of mouth

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!