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

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 Included: technological advances like the iPhone, President George W. Bush’s war on terror, Barack Obama’s historic election victory, the financial crisis and hip-hop’s rising influence. Chuck Barney, Detroit Free Press, "TV highlights for the week of July 8-14," 7 July 2018 For many, its depiction of an ordinary-yet-extraordinary nuclear family defending itself against its enemies carried an unmistakable resonance in the wake of 9/11 and the nascent war on terror. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "How the dazzling, overstuffed ‘Incredibles 2’ holds up a cracked mirror to present-day reality," 4 July 2018 One of my favorite Facebook friends is a liberal who has regularly contributed to Huffington Post and strongly criticized President Bush’s handling of the war on terror. Christine M. Flowers, Philly.com, "People think they know what I believe because I'm a conservative columnist. They're wrong | Christine Flowers," 21 June 2018 The security arsenal features police boats patrolling the East River near the U.N., aviation units overhead and teams of officers trained to respond to chemical, biological and other potential terror threats. Tom Hays, Fox News, "Police beef up security for UN gathering, Trump visit," 22 Sep. 2018 The outlet also reported that an unnamed government official said that there was no evidence of a security or terror threat. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Flight from Dubai quarantined in NY amid mystery illness, 521 on board," 5 Sep. 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

4 Jan 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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