horror

noun
hor·​ror | \ ˈhȯr-ər How to pronounce horror (audio) , ˈhär- \

Definition of horror

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : painful and intense fear, dread, or dismay astonishment giving place to horror on the faces of the people about me— H. G. Wells
b : intense aversion or repugnance
2a : the quality of inspiring horror : repulsive, horrible, or dismal quality or character contemplating the horror of their lives— Liam O'Flaherty
b : something that inspires horror
3 horrors plural : a state of extreme depression or apprehension

horror

adjective

Definition of horror (Entry 2 of 2)

: calculated to inspire feelings of dread or horror a horror movie

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Examples of horror in a Sentence

Noun There was a look of horror on her face. The crowd watched in horror as the fire spread. His friends were shocked by the horror of his death. His crimes were unspeakable horrors. His memoirs recount the horrors of the war.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Written during the height of the pandemic, as Americans reeled in horror at the killing of a Black man by a Minneapolis police officer, the play highlights Whittier’s role as an abolitionist and advocate for human rights. BostonGlobe.com, 3 June 2021 Welp, my girls recoiled in horror at the idea of doing it in public. Washington Post, 28 May 2021 While much of the country watched in horror, the GOP embraced the couple, giving them a speaking slot at last year's Republican National Convention. Simone Pathe, CNN, 27 May 2021 Want to know how to make a Democrat gasp in horror? Daniel Henninger, WSJ, 19 May 2021 The work of four directors, this omnibus horror film uses a gathering at a country house as an excuse to depict a series of spooky stories about ghosts, twists of fate and, most famously, a ventriloquist’s dummy who seems to have a life of his own. Keith Phipps, Vulture, 26 May 2021 On Wednesday, Netflix dropped the teaser for this summer's horror film trilogy, based on the best-selling teen novels of the same name by R.L. Stine. Jen Juneau, PEOPLE.com, 19 May 2021 The jigsaw clue definitely feels like a Saw reference, and Wahlberg plays Eric Matthews in that horror film franchise. Lauren Huff, EW.com, 19 May 2021 Then, of course, there were all the clear references to the cult-favorite campy horror film Jennifer's Body, starring Megan Fox. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 15 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective As a breezy, 100-minute collection of puzzles and jump scares, the first film was a surprise hit, the kind of low-stakes entertainment even non–horror fans can enjoy. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 5 June 2021 Actress Barbara Crampton played the role of Trista Evans Bradford for several stints on NBC's daytime soap Days of Our Lives and can claim many other non-horror credits. Clark Collis, EW.com, 1 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'horror.' 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 horror

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1936, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for horror

Noun

Middle English orrour, horrour, borrowed from Anglo-French horrour, horrur, borrowed from Latin horrōr-, horror "standing stiffly, bristling (of hair), shivering (from cold or fear), dread, consternation," derivative with the abstract noun suffix -ōr- (going back to *-ōs-) from the base of horrēre "to be stiffly erect, bristle (of hair, weapons, plants), shudder, shiver," going back to Indo-European *ǵhors-éi̯e-, iterative derivative of a stem *ǵhers- "bristle, become stiff," whence also Sanskrit hṛṣyati "(it) stands on end (of hair, from fear or joy), (s/he) rejoices"

Note: According to Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben (2. Auflage, Wiesbaden, 2001) this base has fallen together with another base, *g(w)hers- "rejoice," in Vedic, and the outcomes are no longer completely distinguishable; the Lexikon attributes to the latter base Vedic hárṣate "rejoices, is excited," ghṛ́ṣuḥ, ghṛ́ṣvih "lively, wanton," as well as Parthian gš- "be cheerful," Sogdian w-γš- "rejoice." Michiel de Vaan (Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages, Brill, 2008) posits a single base and assumes for ghṛ́ṣuḥ, ghṛ́ṣvih loss of palatal quality in zero grade. Earlier etymological dictionaries, as Pokorny, connect with *ǵhers- and an unextended form *ǵher- a wide variety of nominal forms (cf. gorse, orgeat, hirsute, urchin).

Adjective

from attributive use of horror entry 1

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Time Traveler for horror

Time Traveler

The first known use of horror was in the 14th century

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Statistics for horror

Last Updated

11 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Horror.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/horror. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for horror

horror

noun

English Language Learners Definition of horror

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a very strong feeling of fear, dread, and shock
: the quality of something that causes feelings of fear, dread, and shock : the horrible or shocking quality or character of something
: something that causes feelings of fear, dread, and shock : something that is shocking and horrible

horror

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of horror (Entry 2 of 2)

: intended to cause feelings of fear or horror

horror

noun
hor·​ror | \ ˈhȯr-ər How to pronounce horror (audio) \

Kids Definition of horror

1 : great fear, dread, or shock All the children stared in horror at Pippi, and the teacher explained that one couldn't answer that way at school.— Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking
2 : a quality or thing that causes horror They witnessed the horror of war.

horror

noun
hor·​ror | \ ˈhȯr-ər, ˈhär- How to pronounce horror (audio) \

Medical Definition of horror

: painful and intense fear, dread, or dismay

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