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

Some also argue that allowing weapons to decide to kill violates the ethical and legal norms governing the use of force on the battlefield since the horrors of World War II. The Atlantic, "Coming Soon to a Battlefield: Robots That Can Kill," 3 Sep. 2019 Many South Koreans feel, quite rightly, that Japan has not sufficiently acknowledged, let alone properly atoned for, all the horrors of its colonial rule over the Korean peninsula. The Economist, "South Korea and Japan are taking their historical feud too far," 31 Aug. 2019 Gaga was suddenly covered in faux-blood dripping from her abdomen, much to the audible horror of her audience. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Don't Forget: Lady Gaga's '09 VMAs Performance Should Have Been the Night's Breakout Moment," 21 Aug. 2019 Across the state, officials have long lamented the horrors of homelessness while failing to pass any meaningful legislation. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "LA residents fed up with officials, demand change after homeless crisis spirals in city," 20 Aug. 2019 But the horror of Parkland demanded a swift, practical legislative response to try to prevent future such nightmares. Rick Scott, The Denver Post, "Rick Scott: I’m a gun owner and NRA member. I support red-flag laws to help stop mass shootings.," 9 Aug. 2019 For some people, however, spectacular deaths of a supposedly heroic nature seem to have a bizarre magnetism—think Everest—particularly for those who have never witnessed the horror of such events. Mark Jenkins, National Geographic, "How the pursuit of one European peak gave rise to modern mountaineering," 1 Aug. 2019 Howland rarely engages with the horrors of Jewish history; her Chicago Jews are fairly comfortable in their environs. Abigail Deutsch, Harper's magazine, "Bette on the Blues," 22 July 2019 Emily and Moira treat the arrest as a joke — and compared to the horrors of the Colonies, a small City Hall jail cell is a joke. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale Season 3, Episode 7 Recap: A Criminal Record," 5 July 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

Comments on horror

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