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

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Other Words from horrify

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for horrify



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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 Its science-fiction stories are still sharp and clever with twists that surprise, delight and horrify. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 16 Mar. 2021 Nguyễn Văn Lém getting shot in the middle of the street, for instance—images that just horrify you. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 7 Mar. 2021 While Howl-O-Scream happenings horrify guests after dark on select nights at Busch Gardens, the Tampa Bay theme park is bringing younger visitors family-friendly offerings during the daytime. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, 7 Oct. 2020 The 32-year-old law student escaped the 2014 abduction and disappearance of 43 rural college students that continues to horrify Mexico. Washington Post, 22 Sep. 2020 Its science fiction stories are still sharp and clever, with twists that surprise, delight and horrify, from a woeful pair of glasses to an alien cookbook. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 31 July 2020 Its science fiction stories are still so sharp and clever, with twists that surprise, delight and horrify. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 1 July 2020 And yet, what the photograph does measure is its most telling, horrifying attribute. Jason Parham, Wired, 29 May 2020 The fever and ague, diarrhea and dysentery had made dreadful havoc ... and the awful pictures of the tent town or encamping ground at Happy Valley are horrifying in the extreme. Gary Kamiya, SFChronicle.com, 29 May 2020

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

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."

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Time Traveler for horrify

Time Traveler

The first known use of horrify was in 1791

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Cite this Entry

“Horrify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/horrify. Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce horrify (audio) \
horrified; horrifying

Kids Definition of horrify

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


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