terror

noun
ter·​ror | \ ˈter-ər , ˈte-rər\

Definition of terror

1 : a state of intense fear
2a : one that inspires fear : scourge
b : a frightening aspect
c : a cause of anxiety : worry
d : an appalling person or thing especially : brat
4 : violent or destructive acts (such as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands

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Other Words from terror

terrorless \ ˈter-​ər-​ləs , ˈte-​rər-​ \ adjective

Synonyms for terror

Synonyms

affliction, demon (or daemon), hang-up, torment

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Choose the Right Synonym for terror

fear, dread, fright, alarm, panic, terror, trepidation mean painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger. fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually loss of courage. fear of the unknown dread usually adds the idea of intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety. faced the meeting with dread fright implies the shock of sudden, startling fear. fright at being awakened suddenly alarm suggests a sudden and intense awareness of immediate danger. view the situation with alarm panic implies unreasoning and overmastering fear causing hysterical activity. the news caused widespread panic terror implies the most extreme degree of fear. immobilized with terror trepidation adds to dread the implications of timidity, trembling, and hesitation. raised the subject with trepidation

Examples of terror in a Sentence

The sound of guns being fired fills me with terror. Many civilians fled in terror. a terror that is still fresh in her memory the terrors of life in the jungle a regime that rules by terror bombings and other acts of terror These people have been living with terror and the threat of terror for many years. a campaign of terror against ethnic minority groups
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Recent Examples on the Web

That Iran feels comfortable planning terror attacks in Europe after the nuclear deal was signed should be a red flag. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Europe’s Baby Steps on Iran," 9 Jan. 2019 Twelve others face maximum 15-year terms on charges of membership in a terror group. Suzan Fraser, The Seattle Times, "Turkey: 28 on trial over Russian ambassador’s slaying," 8 Jan. 2019 When asked if there is any evidence Campa-Najjar has been linked to terror groups, Hunter Sr. again cited the family association. Fox News, "Indicted California incumbent steps up attacks on Democrat," 16 Oct. 2018 Before Sunday, at least 130,000 people had been sacked based on what authorities said were links to terror groups. Kareem Fahim, Washington Post, "As Erdogan prepares for new term, Turkey dismisses more than 18,000 civil servants," 8 July 2018 In Syria and Iraq, the unspeakable acts of Islamic State were proportional to the speed of the terror group’s collapse. Mark Sappenfield, The Christian Science Monitor, "Nigeria’s schoolgirl rebellion," 26 June 2018 Yemen is also an important front in the war on terror, and has remained so across presidential administrations of both parties. Mike Pompeo, WSJ, "The U.S.-Saudi Partnership Is Vital," 27 Nov. 2018 From the beginning, performing and a kind of self-doubt that bordered on terror went hand in hand for Hedges. Adam Green, Vogue, "With a Bushel of New Film Roles—and a Broadway Debut—Lucas Hedges Is Learning to Love the Spotlight," 24 Sep. 2018 Of course, this did not go unnoticed by non-state actors such as terror groups. Ulrike Franke, The Verge, "The Caracas drone attack won’t be the last of its kind," 17 Aug. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for terror

Middle English, from Anglo-French terrour, from Latin terror, from terrēre to frighten; akin to Greek trein to be afraid, flee, tremein to tremble — more at tremble

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Statistics for terror

Last Updated

1 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for terror

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

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More Definitions for terror

terror

noun

English Language Learners Definition of terror

: a very strong feeling of fear
: something that causes very strong feelings of fear : something that is terrifying
: violence that is committed by a person, group, or government in order to frighten people and achieve a political goal

terror

noun
ter·​ror | \ ˈter-ər \

Kids Definition of terror

1 : a state of great fear They fled in terror.
2 : a cause of great fear All these, however, were mere terrors of the night …— Washington Irving, “Sleepy Hollow”

terror

noun
ter·​ror

Legal Definition of terror

: an intense fear of physical injury or death inflict terror by forced entry or unlawful assembly also : the infliction of such fear an act of terror

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More from Merriam-Webster on terror

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with terror

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for terror

Spanish Central: Translation of terror

Nglish: Translation of terror for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of terror for Arabic Speakers

Comments on terror

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excited commotion or publicity

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