terror

noun
ter·​ror | \ ˈter-ər How to pronounce terror (audio) , ˈte-rər \
plural terrors

Definition of terror

1 : a state of intense or overwhelming fear overcome by terror people fleeing the scene in terror He lived in terror of being caught.
2 : violence or the threat of violence used as a weapon of intimidation or coercion a regime that rules by terror especially : violent or destructive acts (such as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands an act of terror the war on terror sometimes used before another noun a terror attack
3 : a very frightening or terrifying aspect the terrors of war
4a : someone or something that inspires fear : scourge I stood before fierce Mrs. Mabel Johnston, his secretary and the terror of the office.— Russell Baker Before rifles were available to Eskimo hunters, bears were truly the terror of their existence.— Charles T. Feazel
b informal : an extremely disruptive or annoying person or thing especially : a misbehaving child : brat Their son is a little terror.

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Other Words from terror

terrorless \ ˈter-​ər-​ləs How to pronounce terrorless (audio) , 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 In January 2019 the European Union imposed new sanctions against Iranian intelligence over terror plots on European soil. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Europe’s Nuclear Moment," 14 Jan. 2020 Even without Underwater's lithe, lethal creatures swimming around out there in the dark, the sea imparts a terror all its own. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to Watch (and Skip) in Theaters and on HBO This Weekend," 10 Jan. 2020 But over the past 25 years, anti-government groups and white supremacists have been responsible for roughly the same number of terror plots and attacks, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, "North Texas militia vigilante who rounded up migrants at border found dead after months on the run," 10 Jan. 2020 After all, Schroeder had been a true terror in the past. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "The Evolution of Stassi Schroeder On Vanderpump Rules," 8 Jan. 2020 Five militants from the terror roup, which is linked to Al Qaeda, were killed in the attack, according to Kenyan military officials. Fox News, "Kenya attack by al-Shabab militants kills US servicemember, 2 American contractors," 6 Jan. 2020 Using minimalism and repetition, P.T. crafts terror out of familiarity and its disruption, the unexpected and the frightening always lurking just behind the corner. Julie Muncy, Wired, "The Decade's 10 Most Influential Videogames," 28 Dec. 2019 What started in 2009 as an indiscriminate campaign of terror against Muslims and Christians alike has in recent times seemed more targeted. Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo, Quartz Africa, "An Islamic State Christmas killing of 11 hostages in Nigeria threatens to flare up religious tensions," 28 Dec. 2019 Chinese officials call it a colour revolution, or, referring to the preferred hue of anti-government protesters involved in it, a black terror. The Economist, "China 2019 in review: testing China’s bottom line," 22 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for terror

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for terror

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Terror.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terror. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for terror

terror

noun
How to pronounce terror (audio)

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 How to pronounce terror (audio) \

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for terror

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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