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

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

On July 2, Israel's Knesset passed legislation that would subtract the amount used by the P.A. to fund terrorists from tax monies collected for the P.A. by Israel and transfer the funds to organizations that provide assistance to victims of terror. Jewish Journal, "Abbas declares Israeli legislation won't stop him from paying terrorists," 11 July 2018 One person’s most entertaining night of the year is another person’s night of terror. Otis R. Taylor Jr., SFChronicle.com, "Fireworks fascination can never be defused, so keep your ears plugged," 9 July 2018 Finally, the episode also introduced a new setting of terror. refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale Recap Season 2, Episode 12: Gilead's Romeo & Juliet," 4 July 2018 The anger and rage generated by those nights of terror would emerge in other forms. Erika Andersen, Good Housekeeping, "The Only Reason My Husband Survived Abuse and Poverty As a Child: His Faith in God," 26 June 2018 The government said the crackdown was needed to fight alleged acts of terror. Fox News, "Turkey charges father of NBA's Kanter as terror group member," 18 June 2018 For several years, Joe McCarthy’s paranoid ravings about the communist conspiracy held Washington in a state of terror. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Is Going to Lose His War on Football," 5 June 2018 Commander Cushing has needlessly imposed a state of terror since assuming Commander Pryce’s responsibilities. Rena Gross, Billboard, "12 Big Revelations From 'Handmaid's Tale' Season 2, Episode 7," 30 May 2018 Holley’s moment of terror did not end in tragedy, but on average, 37 kids left in cars die of hyperthermia in the United States every year. NBC News, "Hot cars and kids: Study shows killer temps hit in an hour," 24 May 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

25 Oct 2018

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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