panic

adjective
pan·​ic | \ ˈpa-nik How to pronounce panic (audio) \

Definition of panic

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : of, relating to, or resembling the mental or emotional state believed induced by the god Pan panic fear
2 : of, relating to, or arising from a panic panic buying panic selling a panic retreat
3 : of or relating to the god Pan Panic rites

panic

noun

Definition of panic (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a sudden overpowering fright also : acute, extreme anxiety
b : a sudden unreasoning terror often accompanied by mass flight widespread panic in the streets
c : a sudden widespread fright concerning financial affairs that results in a depression of values caused by extreme measures for protection of property (such as securities)
2 dated slang : someone or something that is very funny : riot

panic

verb
panicked\ ˈpa-​nikt How to pronounce panic (audio) \; panicking

Definition of panic (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to affect with panic
2 : to cause to laugh uproariously panic an audience with a gag

intransitive verb

: to be affected with panic

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Other Words from panic

Noun

panicky \ ˈpa-​ni-​kē How to pronounce panic (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for panic

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for panic

Noun

fear, dread, fright, alarm, panic, terror, trepidation mean painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger. fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually loss of courage. fear of the unknown dread usually adds the idea of intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety. faced the meeting with dread fright implies the shock of sudden, startling fear. fright at being awakened suddenly alarm suggests a sudden and intense awareness of immediate danger. view the situation with alarm panic implies unreasoning and overmastering fear causing hysterical activity. the news caused widespread panic terror implies the most extreme degree of fear. immobilized with terror trepidation adds to dread the implications of timidity, trembling, and hesitation. raised the subject with trepidation

Did you know?

Noun

Panic comes to us from French panique, which in turn derives from Greek panikos, meaning literally "of Pan." Pan is the pipe-playing, nymph-chasing Greek god of fertility, pastures, flocks, and shepherds. (His name is a Doric contraction of paon, meaning "pasturer.") He also has a rather dark side - his shout is said to have instilled fear in the giants fighting the gods, and the Greeks believed him responsible for causing the Persians to flee in terror at the battle of Marathon. Panic entered our language first as an adjective suggesting the mental or emotional state that Pan was said to induce. The adjective first appeared in print at the beginning of the 17th century, and the noun followed about a century later.

Examples of panic in a Sentence

Noun He was in a panic when he realized how late he was. There's no reason to get into a panic. The villagers fled in panic from the approaching army. The crowd was in a state of panic. She has panic attacks whenever she has to speak in public. Verb If something goes wrong, don't panic. The deer, panicked by the headlights, ran in front of the car.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Hours before the class gathering, Vu texted Karen Blodgett in a semi-panic. oregonlive, 6 July 2020 The disease is spreading quickly; panic spreads quicker. Anastasia Edel, The New York Review of Books, 22 Mar. 2020 And the more the items disappeared off the shelves, the more panic buying set in. Robert Higgs, cleveland, 9 Apr. 2020 A week earlier, people panic-purchased aisle after aisle of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. oregonlive, 21 Mar. 2020 In 2018, Democratic members of Congress introduced a bill that would ban gay and trans panic defenses in federal court. Tim Fitzsimons, NBC News, 22 Jan. 2020 Over this period, protesters’ violence has been escalating and has reached a very alarming level in the past few days, causing numerous injuries and leading Hong Kong to a chaotic and panic situation. Tripti Lahiri, Quartz, 4 Oct. 2019 The park constables were apparently panic struck, and incapable of acting. Longreads, 5 Apr. 2018 The report also praised the prohibition of the use of gay and trans panic defenses in Illinois. NBC News, 12 Jan. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The panic attacks that Ted had occasionally during Season 1 have become worse. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 23 July 2021 The sitcom about a struggling soccer team and its eternally upbeat coach remains TV's best feel-good sitcom, even as Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) struggles with panic attacks and the owner (Hannah Waddingham) searches for Tinder love. Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune, 21 July 2021 According to a psychological evaluation submitted for the trial, he was racked by night terrors and panic attacks that repeatedly sent him to the emergency room. Anchorage Daily News, 12 July 2021 According to a psychological evaluation submitted for the trial, he was racked by night terrors and panic attacks that repeatedly sent him to the emergency room. Washington Post, 12 July 2021 They were reminded this week of the threats to lawmakers when a top security official suggested on Tuesday that members of Congress consider upgrading their home security systems to include panic buttons and key fobs. Luke Broadwater, New York Times, 17 Feb. 2021 A few weeks ago, China successfully launched the core module of what will become its space station orbiting Earth, causing some panic as the rocket that brought the module to orbit re-entered the atmosphere in an uncontrolled freefall. Chris Smith, BGR, 15 May 2021 Across the Southeast, people have been panic-buying gasoline after hackers broke in to some of Colonial Pipeline's networks, causing the U.S. fuel pipeline to temporarily shut down operations. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, 14 May 2021 The shutdown of the pipeline sparked panic in the southeastern U.S., with residents lining up at gas pumps for hours over fears of a shortage. Victoria Albert, CBS News, 14 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb No matter what the people with telescopes say, some people will panic and start digging futile storm cellars. Steve West, sun-sentinel.com, 16 July 2021 So no need to panic right now about the H10N3 avian flu virus. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, 2 June 2021 Some people might panic, remembering those supermarket tabloid stories about hybrid killer bees that had escaped from a hive in Brazil and were moving steadily north, even to California. Carl Nolte, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 June 2021 Don’t panic over one or two days of readings because the numbers can fluctuate due to water weight. Alina Dizik, WSJ, 21 June 2021 Last-Minute Father's Day Gifts on Sale Now Don't panic. Matt Jancer, Wired, 18 June 2021 Don’t panic if your student loan get transferred to a new student loan servicer. Zack Friedman, Forbes, 12 June 2021 Trailing for the first time in six games, the Eagles didn’t panic. Jacob Calvin Meyer, baltimoresun.com, 25 May 2021 If your medical bill has already gone to collections, don't panic. Jennifer Chesak, Health.com, 10 May 2021

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

Adjective

circa 1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Verb

1780, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for panic

Adjective and Noun

French panique, from Greek panikos, literally, of Pan, from Pan

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Time Traveler for panic

Time Traveler

The first known use of panic was circa 1586

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Dictionary Entries Near panic

panhuman

panic

panically

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Statistics for panic

Cite this Entry

“Panic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/panic. Accessed 6 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for panic

panic

noun

English Language Learners Definition of panic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a state or feeling of extreme fear that makes someone unable to act or think normally
: a situation that causes many people to become afraid and to rush to do something

panic

verb

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

: to be overcome with extreme fear : to be affected by panic
: to cause (a person or animal) to feel extreme fear : to cause (a person or animal) to feel panic

panic

noun
pan·​ic | \ ˈpa-nik How to pronounce panic (audio) \

Kids Definition of panic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a sudden overpowering fear often without reasonable cause … it didn't matter … that she was a good swimmer because … in her panic she swallowed water …— Kevin Henkes, Olive's Ocean

panic

verb
panicked; panicking

Kids Definition of panic (Entry 2 of 2)

: to feel or cause to feel sudden overpowering fear

panic

noun
pan·​ic | \ ˈpan-ik How to pronounce panic (audio) \

Medical Definition of panic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sudden overpowering fright also : acute extreme anxiety
2 : a sudden unreasoning terror often accompanied by mass flight widespread panic in the streets

panic

verb
panicked\ -​ikt How to pronounce panic (audio) \; panicking

Medical Definition of panic (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to affect with panic

intransitive verb

: to be affected with panic

More from Merriam-Webster on panic

Nglish: Translation of panic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of panic for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about panic

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