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 panicked (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 panicky (audio) \ 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

To the extent that, in Friends’ telling, the too-small paycheck that for most people would be the stuff of panic and stress and fear becomes, for Rachel, a spiritual victory. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "On Chandler Bing’s Job," 12 Sep. 2019 The officials say 50 others were injured in Tuesday’s incident, which happened toward the end of the Ashoura procession, causing panic and a stampede. Washington Post, "The Latest: 12 killed in Iraq during Ashoura procession," 11 Sep. 2019 Thousands of fires are burning in the Amazon, eliciting panic around the world and offers of help from the Group of Seven meeting last weekend. Mikaela Weisse, Twin Cities, "Mikaela Weisse: Five myths about tropical rainforests," 4 Sep. 2019 The truck driver was Seth A. Ator, 36, the gunman who waged a mobile mass shooting that spread panic and bloodshed across the West Texas sister cities of Midland and Odessa on Saturday. Sarah Mervosh, New York Times, "Texas Gunman: From Small-Time Troublemaker to Mass Killer," 2 Sep. 2019 Rashad Armstead was dealing with panic and anxiety attacks that had plagued him for more than two years. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: Hailing a ride to the California ballot," 30 Aug. 2019 Instead of thrilling to descriptions of panic and descents into sadism, the public today must content itself with stories of ice-bucket plunges and collaborative videogames. Noam Cohen, WIRED, "Beware the Epiphany-Industrial Complex," 19 Aug. 2019 Those shootings shocked the nation — especially in an era of social media and cellphone video that instantly captured the panic and mayhem. oregonlive.com, "US records 20 mass killings so far in 2019, including 1 in Oregon," 1 Aug. 2019 The outlet said he's been charged with causing panic and disorder. Fox News, "Suitor admits phoning in fake bomb threat in bid to get date with flight attendant," 21 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

So when Dana Hills stormed back to win the fourth set convincingly on Wednesday night, the Breakers could have given themselves every reason to panic. Andrew Turner, Daily Pilot, "Laguna Beach girls’ volleyball withstands challenge from Dana Hills," 21 Aug. 2019 The findings are concerning but not a reason to panic, Lipkin says. Karen Weintraub, Scientific American, "Mind the Staph: London Is Crawling with Antibiotic-Resistant Microbes," 1 Aug. 2019 Then just out of system balls, being able to clean up and not panic in certain situations. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Mayde Creek volleyball continues momentum from 2018," 12 Aug. 2019 On Thursday, panicked shoppers fled a Walmart in Springfield, Mo., after a man carrying a rifle and wearing body armor walked around the store before being stopped by an off-duty firefighter. Michelle Chapman, Fortune, "Walmart Pulls Violent Video Game Displays and Turns Off Hunting Season Footage but Will Still Sell Guns," 9 Aug. 2019 On Thursday, five days after the El Paso shooting, panicked shoppers fled a Walmart in Springfield, Missouri, after a man carrying a rifle and wearing body armor walked around the store before being stopped by an off-duty firefighter. Michelle Chapman, chicagotribune.com, "Walmart is removing depictions of violence from stores nationwide, will continue to sell guns," 9 Aug. 2019 On Thursday, five days after the El Paso shooting, panicked shoppers fled a Walmart in Springfield, Missouri, after a man carrying a rifle and wearing body armor walked around the store before being stopped by an off-duty firefighter. NBC News, "After massacre, Walmart pulls violent video game displays. Firearms remain on sale.," 9 Aug. 2019 As police searched for clues on the killers and panicked residents shuttered their homes, the body of University of British Columbia professor Leonard Dyck was discovered four days later hundreds of miles away from the first crime scene. Steve Almasy And Faith Karimi, CNN, "Canada case won't be closed even after teen killers' bodies are identified, investigators say," 8 Aug. 2019 The teen said Davis began panicking and pacing around the room, before leaving with the revolver. Michael Williams, orlandosentinel.com, "Orlando man asked teens to play Russian Roulette before killing girl, cops say," 19 July 2019

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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Statistics for panic

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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 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 panicked (audio) \; 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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