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 This also explains why these celebratory pyrotechnics often terrify dogs. Anna Brooks, Popular Science, "Fireworks scare us—that’s why we love them," 30 Dec. 2020 Flirting with a 2024 candidacy gives him an excuse to hold rallies and to terrify Republican politicians via Twitter. Los Angeles Times, "Column: As tempting as it will be to ignore him, here’s why Trump will make news after leaving office," 3 Jan. 2021 In other developments: - Tucker Carlson: The elites want COVID-19 lockdowns to usher in a 'Great Reset' and that should terrify you. David Aaro, Fox News, "Georgia recount unearths more than 2,600 uncounted ballots in Floyd County: report," 17 Nov. 2020 Reporters looking for a terrifying yarn will find terrorist sources eager to help terrify. Ben Smith, New York Times, "An Arrest in Canada Casts a Shadow on a New York Times Star, and The Times," 11 Oct. 2020 In is known for mixing in a dose of films that terrify along with its family-friendly fare. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, "Halloween 2020: 12 scary storytellers, outdoor movies and festivals in Indianapolis," 7 Oct. 2020 But what if the nightmare scenarios that terrify Democrats misconstrue the threat? Damon Linker, TheWeek, "The 2000 presidential election, on steroids," 25 Sep. 2020 From the never-ending drama of The Walking Dead to The Haunting of Bly Manor, the upcoming season is filled with horrifying prestige series that will charm and terrify genre fans. Rosie Knight, refinery29.com, "When Did TV Get So Scary? 21 Horror Shows That Took Us From From Teen Drama To Abject Terror," 24 Sep. 2020 What should terrify Biden is that Hillary Clinton’s average lead over Trump in Wisconsin in August of 2016 was 7.7 percent. Dan O'donnell, National Review, "Why Joe Biden Really Went to Wisconsin," 4 Sep. 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

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Terrify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrify. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for terrify



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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