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.

Other Words from terror

terrorless \ ˈter-​ər-​ləs How to pronounce terror (audio) , ˈte-​rər-​ \ adjective

Synonyms for terror

Synonyms

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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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web Klaus also discovers Grace praying in front of the orb, so at least now one of the Umbrellas has seen where this ball of terror is. Maggie Fremont, EW.com, 22 June 2022 In Irpin, the bodies of 290 victims, with a disproportionate number of women, were recovered after Russian forces inflicted a month of terror, the BBC reported. Libby Cathey, ABC News, 21 June 2022 But Paradis realized something was wrong when the look in her teacher’s eye shifted to one of terror. Taylor Hartz, Hartford Courant, 12 June 2022 In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, the Orlando Sentinel focuses not on the gunman and the act of terror, but on the victims, stories of hope and how Orlando became a city forever changed. Orlando Sentinel Staff, Orlando Sentinel, 12 June 2022 The haunted house will recreate some of the most iconic scenes from Halloween as guests make their way through his dilapidated home, trying to avoid becoming one of his victims in the knife-wielding maniac’s relentless and bloody campaign of terror. Simon Thompson, Forbes, 8 June 2022 The moment of terror at Spring Mills High School in Martinsburg, about 80 miles northwest of Washington happened May 23, the day before a gunman fatally shot 19 children and two teachers in a classroom in Uvalde, Texas. John Raby, Anchorage Daily News, 4 June 2022 In Kentucky, like many states throughout the South, lynching was a tool of terror. Rayna Reid, Essence, 3 June 2022 Cuba remains on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terror; Trump restored that designation after losing the 2020 election. Alejandra Ibarra Chaoul, Washington Post, 2 June 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near terror

terron

terror

terrorful

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Statistics for terror

Last Updated

25 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Terror.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terror. Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for terror

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

More from Merriam-Webster on terror

Nglish: Translation of terror for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of terror for Arabic Speakers

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