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

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 There aren’t too many things that terrify Maya Rudolph. Lacey Rose, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 June 2022 Regardless of precautions and incident plans, cyberattacks terrify c-suites. Noah Barsky, Forbes, 1 June 2022 The Gay Agenda which, to terrify all of my loyal conservative fans, always has been and always will be about making as many people gay as possible. Tom Rasmussen, Vogue, 1 June 2022 Based on the series of books that used to terrify you as a child, this movie follows a group of kids who have to investigate a bunch of local legends — before the legends wind up getting the better of them. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, 17 May 2022 One suspect, age 25, is facing charges of possessing a destructive device near a church and on public streets, possessing material with intent to make explosives, exploding a device with intent to terrify, felony evading and child endangerment. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 May 2022 Arnold is not trying to shock or terrify the viewer (this is not a sensationalist PETA video) but simply offers an invitation to bear witness to what the industrialization of food production means for animals. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 6 Apr. 2022 Martin McDonagh writes plays that gleefully terrify. Liz Appel, Vogue, 20 Apr. 2022 These numbers should terrify Democrats who are on the ballot this fall, barring a rapid turnaround in inflation, which most economists believe is unlikely. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 31 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

24 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Terrify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrify. Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for terrify


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

Kids Definition of terrify

: to cause (someone) to become very frightened

More from Merriam-Webster on terrify

Nglish: Translation of terrify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of terrify for Arabic Speakers


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