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 Like other members of the genus, boasted a suite of truly terrifying features. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Newly Described Meat-Eating Dinosaur Dominated During the Jurassic Period," 28 Jan. 2020 Then there is China’s ambition, at once reasonable and terrifying, to become so strong that no other power will thwart its core demands. The Economist, "Chaguan Communism is not what worries the world about China’s Communist Party," 18 Dec. 2019 When a developer, whether for profit or nonprofit, sees another project tied up in court for years, that is terrifying. J.k. Dineen, SFChronicle.com, "SF housing developers’ secret weapon? Little-known state law to speed challenges," 15 Nov. 2019 Where to stream: Netflix Évolution (2015) Lucile Hadžihalilović plays with gender dynamics in fascinating, and terrifying, ways in Évolution. Wired, "The 12 Best Foreign Horror Movies You Can Stream Right Now," 28 Oct. 2019 Obviously, having a stalker is no joking matter, but stalker movies are just so fascinating and terrifying. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "The Trailer for Netflix’s New Thriller Secret Obsession Is Serving Major Lifetime Vibes," 8 July 2019 After beating Stanford 72-56 on Sunday afternoon, the Jayhawks basketball team had a bit of a scare when one of their plane’s engines failed after takeoff — a terrifying event that was captured on video. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, "Plane Carrying Kansas Jayhawks Basketball Team Forced Into Emergency Landing After Takeoff," 30 Dec. 2019 According to the Mayo Clinic, PTSD is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Danny Hermosillo, Houston Chronicle, "Marine runs 200 miles between Houston and San Antonio honoring vets with PTSD," 30 Dec. 2019 For a long time, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been an umbrella diagnosis for the symptoms that develop in the aftermath of a terrifying event, like flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety. Anna Borges, SELF, "Evan Rachel Wood on Bisexuality, Rage, and Life After Trauma," 30 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for terrifying

Time Traveler

The first known use of terrifying was circa 1586

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Statistics for terrifying

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Terrifying.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrifying?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=t&file=terrifying_1. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for terrifying


How to pronounce terrifying (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of terrifying

: causing great fear

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