ter·​ri·​fy | \ ˈter-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce terrify (audio) , ˈte-rə- \
terrified; terrifying

Definition of terrify

transitive verb

1a : to drive or impel by menacing : scare
2 : to fill with terror

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Synonyms & Antonyms for terrify



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Examples of terrify in a Sentence

The thought of dying alone terrifies her. the prospect of speaking in front of a huge crowd of people absolutely terrifies me
Recent Examples on the Web The booms, blasts and lights that humans enjoy tend to terrify our furry friends. oregonlive, "What fireworks are legal, illegal in Oregon? What to know as Fourth of July nears," 24 June 2020 Instead of terrifying me, those words had the opposite effect. Aminatou Sow, New York Times, "The Joy of Perfecting the Sexy Selfie," 18 May 2020 Their numerous appearances on the program brought them fame and money but, as Meara told The Times in 2010, Sullivan terrified her. Gina Piccalo, Los Angeles Times, "‘Seinfeld’ veteran Jerry Stiller dies at 92," 11 May 2020 What terrifies us now, in our post-bellum world of numbers, is the representative individual: a man leaping from the second tower; the photograph of a single victim in a mass shooting; the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Shannon Pufahl, The New York Review of Books, "Numbering the Dead," 21 Apr. 2020 But the daunting obstacle of picking up her life and moving across the world in only three days, coupled with the idea of having to improvise an entire film with only a week and a half's notice, absolutely terrified her. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, "Shailene Woodley talks improvising an entire movie in steamy romance Endings, Beginnings," 16 Apr. 2020 The doctors wanted to put him on a ventilator, an idea that terrified her. Lauren Caruba, ExpressNews.com, "‘You’re on pins and needles’: For family of first San Antonio COVID-19 patient treated with donated plasma, there was fear, then hope," 15 Apr. 2020 One doctor, working on the front lines in Monza, one of the country's hardest hit regions, told an Italian journalist the thing that most terrifies him is the prospect of putting his family at risk. Fortune, "Inside Europe’s coronavirus hotspots a new concern emerges: A PTSD crisis among medical workers," 5 Apr. 2020 In the past couple of weeks, home-birth midwives like Amber Berry, who delivers babies in the Houston area, have seen a surge in interest among women terrified of catching COVID-19. Nina Martin, ProPublica, "What Coronavirus Means for Pregnancy and Other Things New and Expecting Mothers Should Know," 19 Mar. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for terrify

Latin terrificare, from terrificus

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Time Traveler for terrify

Time Traveler

The first known use of terrify was in the 15th century

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Statistics for terrify

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Terrify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrify. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for terrify


How to pronounce terrify (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of terrify

: to cause (someone) to be extremely afraid : to frighten (someone) very much


ter·​ri·​fy | \ ˈter-ə-ˌfī How to pronounce terrify (audio) \
terrified; terrifying

Kids Definition of terrify

: to cause (someone) to become very frightened

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More from Merriam-Webster on terrify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for terrify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with terrify

Spanish Central: Translation of terrify

Nglish: Translation of terrify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of terrify for Arabic Speakers

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