hor·​ri·​fy | \ ˈhȯr-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce horrify (audio) , ˈhär-\
horrified; horrifying

Definition of horrify

transitive verb

1 : to cause to feel horror
2 : to fill with distaste : shock

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from horrify

horrifyingly \ ˈhȯr-​ə-​ˌfī-​iŋ-​lē How to pronounce horrifyingly (audio) , ˈhär-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for horrify



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for horrify

dismay, appall, horrify, daunt mean to unnerve or deter by arousing fear, apprehension, or aversion. dismay implies that one is disconcerted and at a loss as to how to deal with something. dismayed at the size of the job appall implies that one is faced with that which perturbs, confounds, or shocks. I am appalled by your behavior horrify stresses a reaction of horror or revulsion. was horrified by such wanton cruelty daunt suggests a cowing, disheartening, or frightening in a venture requiring courage. a cliff that would daunt the most intrepid climber

Examples of horrify in a Sentence

The details of the crime horrified the nation. They were horrified by the movie's violence.
Recent Examples on the Web When the group gets to Venice, things start to get very strange – and not just the group’s horrifying cheap hotel. Laura Demarco, cleveland.com, "’Spider-Man: Far From Home’: Peter Parker’s summer vacation goes awry in funny, touching post-’Endgame’ Avengers film (review)," 1 July 2019 Foreign donors were horrified, and stopped contributing to the budget. The Economist, "A $2bn loan scandal sank Mozambique’s economy," 22 Aug. 2019 Mayor Eric Johnson said Wednesday night that Bennett's death horrified him. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "9-year-old girl killed in gang-related shooting in Old East Dallas, police say," 15 Aug. 2019 Some of the videos coming out of Grand Bahama this morning have been horrifying: Then there’s the rain. Leigh Morgan, al, "Hurricane Dorian 2019 path update: Florida waits for turn north as Category 4 storm batters Bahamas," 2 Sep. 2019 Saturday is the actual anniversary of the 1969 fire that horrified the nation and spurred the modern environmental movement. Laura Johnston, cleveland.com, "Blazing Paddles, Xtinguish Torchfest mark 50th anniversary of Cuyahoga River fire: See the downtown celebrations," 22 June 2019 None of this is to say that Pelosi is not personally horrified by what’s happening. Elizabeth Spiers, The New Republic, "Beyond Pelosi," 24 July 2019 Ana Swanson’s front-page feature on the group focused on two elements clearly meant to horrify liberals: Its return to the politics of the Cold War and the presence of former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon among its leadership. Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, "Don’t Dismiss Communist China’s Critics," 23 July 2019 Earlier this week, after Tom Holland was spotted out with a mystery blonde, Tomdaya stans everywhere thoroughly freaked out, horrified at the fact that Tom and Zendaya may not actually be an item. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About Tom Holland's Girlfriend Olivia Bolton," 19 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'horrify.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of horrify

1791, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for horrify

probably from horri(fic) + -fy

Note: Given the late appearance of the word, it is most likely not a borrowing from Latin horrificāre "to ruffle the surface of, frighten, terrify."

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about horrify

Statistics for horrify

Last Updated

5 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for horrify

The first known use of horrify was in 1791

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for horrify


How to pronounce horrify (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of horrify

: to cause (someone) to feel horror or shock : to greatly upset and shock (someone)


hor·​ri·​fy | \ ˈhȯr-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce horrify (audio) \
horrified; horrifying

Kids Definition of horrify

: to cause to feel great fear, dread, or shock

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on horrify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for horrify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with horrify

Spanish Central: Translation of horrify

Nglish: Translation of horrify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of horrify for Arabic Speakers

Comments on horrify

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


concealed or difficult to comprehend

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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