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


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



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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

Bill Hader) staring into the sky looking terrified. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The 'It Chapter 2' Trailer Has So Many Hidden Easter Eggs," 10 May 2019 Our culture at large is terrified of the Night King. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The Night King in Real Life Is a Total Snack, and I Don't Know How to Feel About It," 29 Apr. 2019 He is terrified that Beth and Randall are going to break up. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Ron Cephas Jones Isn't Ready to Say Goodbye to William," 19 Mar. 2019 For the first time in my life, I was terrified to be a trans womxn. Nika Lomazzo, Teen Vogue, "What It's Like to Help Your Best Friend Win an Election," 12 Nov. 2018 Women are terrified of aging and beauty brands know how to market expensive solutions to our fears. Andrew Boyd, NOLA.com, "City Park wildflower fields a delight to behold," 1 June 2018 Foreign-policy mandarins are terrified that security alliances are being wrecked. The Economist, "Why corporate America loves Donald Trump," 24 May 2018 Tuck some money away now The waiting is terrifyingGood to know Good job, Mom A startling new chapter Like All the Moms? Sonja Haller, USA TODAY, "The daily, relatable #momproblems that will make you laugh so you don't cry," 1 July 2018 As bullets sprayed into the room, she was terrified the shooter would reach through the broken glass to unlock the door. Anne Geggis, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Texts capture heartbreaking farewells as Parkland students hid from shooter," 10 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for terrify

Last Updated

25 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for terrify

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with terrify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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