panic

adjective
pan·​ic | \ˈpa-nik \

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 \; 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 \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for panic

Synonyms: Noun

alarm (also alarum), anxiety, dread, fear, fearfulness, fright, horror, scare, terror, trepidation

Synonyms: Verb

affright, alarm (also alarum), fright, frighten, horrify, scare, scarify, shock, spook, startle, terrify, terrorize

Antonyms: Verb

reassure

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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

The park constables were apparently panic struck, and incapable of acting. Longreads, "Where Have You Hidden the Cholera?," 5 Apr. 2018 The report also praised the prohibition of the use of gay and trans panic defenses in Illinois. NBC News, "129 anti-LGBTQ state bills were introduced in 2017, new report says," 12 Jan. 2018 Panic buttons were pushed everywhere after Seattle started the season 2-4, but the two-time defending N.F.C. champion Seahawks rallied to an 8-2 finish. Benjamin Hoffman, New York Times, "N.F.L. Wild-Card Playoff Schedule and Picks," 8 Jan. 2016

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The announcement sent parts of the local cannabis industry into panic. Heidi Groover, The Seattle Times, "Washington to ‘reevaluate’ marijuana edibles, crack down on products that might appeal to kids," 5 Oct. 2018 That feeling turned into panic at one of Gilman's first concerts since the shooting. Fox News, "Living with fear: Vegas shooting survivor, wife march on," 27 Sep. 2018 The president’s sharp remarks about the protests during the anthem sent N.F.L. owners into a collective panic that persists. John Branch, New York Times, "Why the N.F.L. and the N.B.A. Are So Far Apart on Social Justice Stances," 22 June 2018 Another new feature from the 9.0 update will also reduce the available acceleration at low speeds when the car sees an obstacle in its path, which Tesla says reduces the chance of a driver accidentally accelerating out of panic. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla adds Atari games and dash camera feature in new software update," 5 Oct. 2018 After lots of panic, Mike and Lauren finally arrive home. refinery29.com, "Here's Exactly How The Situation Proposed To His Girlfriend On Jersey Shore," 22 June 2018 The attack caused panic and chaos in the station and throughout Tokyo. Author: Stuart Biggs, Gearoid Reidy, Anchorage Daily News, "Japan executes cult leader and 6 others for deadly 1995 sarin attack," 6 July 2018 He has been charged with aggravated menacing and inducing panic. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Welfare check becomes three-hour standoff in Union Township," 18 June 2018 Rapper Eminem performed at the Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee this weekend, causing panic among concertgoers when one of his songs ended with realistic gunshot sound effects. Alix Langone, Time, "Gunshot Sound Effects Used During Eminem's Bonnaroo Set Caused the Crowd to Panic," 10 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

October kicks off with a retrograde, but don’t panic, Gemini. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What October's Gemini Horoscope Means for You," 30 Sep. 2018 Divers involved in the rescue recently revealed each of the children were sedated to stop them from panicking during the rescue. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Thai youth soccer team leaves hospital, shares details of harrowing ordeal in cave," 18 July 2018 Anyway, don't panic: The regular – skinnier – all-beef hot dog will remain on the menu for $1.50. Author: Maura Judkis, Anchorage Daily News, "Costco is taking Polish hot dogs off its food court menu. Fans are grieving – and angry.," 10 July 2018 Anyway, don’t panic: The regular — skinnier — all-beef hot dog will remain on the menu for $1.50. Maura Judkis, Philly.com, "Costco is taking Polish hot dogs off its food-court menu. People are angry," 10 July 2018 Soon everyone was making salt in their backyards and on their roofs, and the Raj was panicked into throwing 60,000 protesters in jail. Ferdinand Mount, WSJ, "‘Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World’ Review: The Prophet as Politician," 1 Nov. 2018 The city panicked, ordering that all scooters be removed. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Electric scooters’ sudden invasion of American cities, explained," 7 Sep. 2018 So on Wednesday, Isaacs panicked and closed out his short position early by buying Tesla shares at the then-current price of $376. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Short seller sues Tesla, Elon Musk, claiming buyout tweets were fraudulent," 11 Aug. 2018 The market panicked, in part, because Facebook disclosed that ads on Instagram Stories were not generating as much revenue as ads in the main Facebook and Instagram feeds. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom on winning the Stories war," 2 Aug. 2018

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

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

Noun

see panic entry 1

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Time Traveler for panic

The first known use of panic was circa 1586

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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 \

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 \

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 \; panicking

Medical Definition of panic (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to affect with panic

intransitive verb

: to be affected with panic

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More from Merriam-Webster on panic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with panic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for panic

Spanish Central: Translation of panic

Nglish: Translation of panic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of panic for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about panic

Comments on panic

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