ter·​ri·​fy·​ing | \ˈter-ə-ˌfī-iŋ, ˈte-rə-\

Definition of terrifying 

1 : causing terror or apprehension

2 : of a formidable nature

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Other Words from terrifying

terrifyingly adverb

Examples of terrifying in a Sentence

The thought of dying alone was terrifying. heard a terrifying noise coming from the next room

Recent Examples on the Web

Now, the heavy metal legend has revealed the full extent of the painful and terrifying ordeal in an interview with Rolling Stone. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Ozzy Osbourne Underwent Hand Surgery to Treat Multiple Staph Infections: ‘It Was Agony’," 23 Oct. 2018 Last month, a video emerged of a terrifying leopard attack that left four people injured in India. Fox News, "'Baby snatcher' monkey hunted after infant found dead in well," 2 Oct. 2018 There are parallels to the pursuit of the atomic bomb during the Second World War: the weapons helped bring an end to the conflict, but introduced new and terrifying dangers to the world with their invention. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "From the author of The Three-Body Problem," 15 Sep. 2018 This story includes graphic photos Dylan McWilliams has survived both a rattlesnake bite and a terrifying bear attack. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "Man Survives Shark and Bear Attacks Less Than a Year Apart: 'I'm Not Gonna Let' That Stop Me," 23 Apr. 2018 These messages, while far fewer than the expressions of support, have been terrifying and have rocked me to my core. Alvin Chang, Vox, "Every time Ford and Kavanaugh answered the question — and didn't answer the question," 28 Sep. 2018 These messages well far fewer than the expressions of support, have been terrifying and have rocked me to my core. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of Christine Blasey Ford's Opening Statement at Brett Kavanaugh's Hearing," 27 Sep. 2018 These messages, while far fewer than the expressions of support, have been terrifying and have rocked me to my core. Fox News, "Christine Blasey Ford's full opening testimony," 27 Sep. 2018 Getting your first tat is terrifying and exciting, and you (and your parents!) probably have a million questions. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "21 Things You Should Know Before Getting Your First Tattoo," 2 Aug. 2018

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

circa 1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for terrifying

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for terrifying

The first known use of terrifying was circa 1586

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More Definitions for terrifying



English Language Learners Definition of terrifying

: causing great fear

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Comments on terrifying

What made you want to look up terrifying? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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