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

Gunfire Games has produced a survival horror combat system that feels like Resident Evil 4 but even more dire. Wired, "Remnant: From the Ashes," 13 Sep. 2019 Find the complete list of Netflix horror arrivals below. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Netflix Celebrated Friday the 13th With New Horror Movies and Shows for Halloween 2019," 13 Sep. 2019 Good advice for Christians; good advice for horror filmmakers; good advice for aspiring board-game tycoons as well. Ross Douthat, National Review, "Horror-Comedy Ready or Not Plays on Primal Human Fears," 12 Sep. 2019 Estrella has already heard gunshots ring out near her classroom and passed by a fresh corpse on her way home, and the blood feels like a warning of more horrors to come. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: A grim fairy tale, ‘Tigers Are Not Afraid’ peers at war through a child’s eyes," 12 Sep. 2019 And the sheer shock and horror and the worry that the mother must have been through during the time of the hurricane as waters rose. Naseem S. Miller, orlandosentinel.com, "Orlando Health surgeon, Bahamian native, visits Abaco Islands to help after Hurricane Dorian: ‘The smell was one of death’," 11 Sep. 2019 Inspired by crowns typically worn during traditional Swedish Midsummer —the celebration of the Summer Solstice—the look takes a dark turn thanks to the runaway horror hit. Lauren Hubbard, Harper's BAZAAR, "18 Easy Halloween Costumes That Are All About The Hairstyle," 11 Sep. 2019 Then, a horror injury for the Under-23s at the start of 2018 threatened to derail everything. SI.com, "Rhian Brewster: It's Time to Finally See What England's Other Wonderkid Can Do," 17 Sep. 2019 People naturally search for terms that not only convey the political aspect of the killings, but more fully express their revulsion and horror towards the event itself. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The NRA Is Not a Domestic Terrorist Organization," 17 Sep. 2019

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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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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More from Merriam-Webster on horror

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with horror

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for horror

Spanish Central: Translation of horror

Nglish: Translation of horror for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of horror for Arabic Speakers

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