hor·ri·fy | \ ˈhȯr-ə-ˌfī , ˈhär- \
horrified; horrifying

Definition of horrify 

transitive verb

1 : to cause to feel horror

2 : to fill with distaste : shock

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Other words from horrify

horrifyingly \ˈhȯr-ə-ˌfī-iŋ-lē, ˈhär- \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for horrify


alarm (also alarum), fright, frighten, panic, scare, shock, spook, startle, terrify, terrorize



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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

That horrifies Miguel Pons, one of two deacons at the chapel at the Colón cemetery in Havana. The Economist, "Cuba’s funerals: cheap and especially uncheerful," 28 June 2018 The 1999 Columbine High School massacre horrified the country. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "Legs and arms and other things," 7 June 2018 My parents were not stage parents in any kind of way, and my dad was triggered and horrified at the thought that his daughter would follow down his path. Lisa Miller, The Cut, "The Weaponized Amber Tamblyn," 8 July 2018 From the outside, it is being driven by left-leaning activists who are horrified by the increasingly cruel policies of the Trump administration and who are using technology to fight back. Jessi Hempel, WIRED, "Immigration Fight Shows Silicon Valley Must Stop Feigning Neutrality," 8 July 2018 Vladimir Putin’s foreign-policy flair has both electrified and horrified the world for a full decade. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Putin’s Success Masks Russian Weakness," 4 June 2018 Her mutilation horrified the country and immediately became an issue in the national elections. Jason Horowitz, BostonGlobe.com, "Migrants were welcome in Macerata, before a murder," 7 July 2018 As horrifying tales of family separation and indefinite detainment continue to spill out from the U.S.-Mexico border, the memory of Japanese internment has frequently risen to the surface. Laura Bradley, HWD, "The Terror Season 2 Could Be One of 2019’s Most Important Shows," 22 June 2018 As The Tale begins, Jennifer’s mother (Ellen Burstyn) is understandably horrified after stumbling across a short story Jennifer wrote as a teenager that reflects on her relationship with Bill. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Tale Is a Searing Investigation of Past Abuse," 25 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of horrify

1791, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for horrify

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for horrify

The first known use of horrify was in 1791

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More Definitions for horrify



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 \
horrified; horrifying

Kids Definition of horrify

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

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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).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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