ter·​ri·​fy·​ing | \ ˈter-ə-ˌfī-iŋ How to pronounce terrifying (audio) , 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

Masks can be terrifying—see any horror movie for proof there—but on the Instagram page @Fashion_For_Bank_Robbers, masks exist as objects of fascination and beauty. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "“Fashion For Bank Robbers” Is an Insta-Obsession for the Anti-Selfie Set," 17 Apr. 2019 MasterChef and Hell's Kitchen star Gordon Ramsay may be insanely intense and downright terrifying in front of the cameras. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'MasterChef' Star Gordon Ramsay and His Wife Tana Have Endured a Lot Together," 19 Apr. 2019 Like Get Out, the film is a textured and terrifying social commentary of middle America. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "I Saw 'Us' and I Will Never Know Peace Again," 25 Mar. 2019 The Fourth of July will ring in a sharp and terrifying turn in Hawkins, Indiana if the official season three trailer for Stranger Things is any indication. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Stranger Things Season 3 Trailer Is Finally Here and I Am Not Okay," 20 Mar. 2019 But the Sixers have more terrifying upside and more glaring weaknesses, and that formula has its own charm. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Which Franchise Has the Brighter Future: 76ers or Celtics?," 8 May 2018 Dangling hundreds of feet in the air attached to a harness and with an experienced belayer (the person at the bottom controlling the rope) at the other end was terrifying enough for me. Amy Marturana, SELF, "'Free Solo' Star Alex Honnold Explains How He Got Into the Terrifying Sport of Free Solo Climbing," 26 Feb. 2019 The masked animal did so by scaling a St. Paul, Minnesota, skyscraper, a la Spider-Man, and in the process riveting - and terrifying - legions of humans who followed online. The Washington Post, OregonLive.com, "A raccoon is scaling the side of a tall skyscraper, and it's incredibly stressful," 12 June 2018 While accidents of that nature are typically easy to recover from or fix at the moment, there are some that are downright terrifying. Shammara Lawrence, Allure, "A Viral Video of Woman's Hair Falling Out Has the Internet Shook," 6 June 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

12 May 2019

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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).


one that collects or salvages junk

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