ter·​ror·​ism | \ ˈter-ər-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce terrorism (audio) \

Definition of terrorism

: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion

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Examples of terrorism in a Sentence

They have been arrested for acts of terrorism.
Recent Examples on the Web The suspect was previously convicted of terrorism offenses. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "NATO meeting comes as cracks in alliance's armor – beyond Trump's criticisms – begin to show," 2 Dec. 2019 Merritt and Jones were fatally wounded when suspect Usman Khan, 28, who had previously been convicted of terrorism offenses, carried out the deadly stabbing attack on London Bridge a year after his release from prison. NBC News, "Police identify London Bridge stabbing victims," 1 Dec. 2019 Police said the attacker was Usman Khan, a 28-year-old who was released on probation last year after serving six years for terrorism offenses. Anchorage Daily News, "2 killed in London stabbings; police fatally shoot suspect, had been jailed for terrorism crimes," 30 Nov. 2019 Samantha Marie Elhassani, 34, previously of Elkhart, entered her guilty plea Monday on one count of concealment of terrorism financing. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Former Elkhart woman pleads guilty to smuggling cash and gold to help ISIS," 27 Nov. 2019 These fronts, which are now afforded a shocking degree of anonymity, are used for all manner of criminal activity, including human trafficking, terrorism financing, and arms smuggling. Max De Haldevang, Quartz, "The US Defense Department lost $875 million to scams involving shell companies," 27 Nov. 2019 Carlson’s comments came in the days following an El Paso, Texas, mass shooting, which was announced as a domestic terrorism case. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "On Fox News, DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake Questioned Why Tucker Carlson Still Has a Job," 26 Nov. 2019 Congress established the fund for American terrorism victims in 2015. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Flint man imprisoned in Iran sues US for withholding victim funds," 20 Nov. 2019 The current generation of young adults has never lived in a world without terrorism. Gabriella Mirabelli, The Hollywood Reporter, "Why Nostalgia Appeals to Younger Audiences (Guest Column)," 15 Nov. 2019

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

1795, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for terrorism

Time Traveler

The first known use of terrorism was in 1795

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Statistics for terrorism

Last Updated

7 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Terrorism.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrorism. Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for terrorism


How to pronounce terrorism (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of terrorism

: the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal


ter·​ror·​ism | \ ˈter-ər-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce terrorism (audio) \

Kids Definition of terrorism

: the use of violence as a means of achieving a goal


ter·​ror·​ism | \ ˈter-ər-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce terrorism (audio) \

Legal Definition of terrorism

1 : the unlawful use or threat of violence especially against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion
2 : violent and intimidating gang activity street terrorism

Other Words from terrorism

terrorist \ -​ist How to pronounce terrorist (audio) \ adjective or noun
terroristic \ ˌter-​ər-​ˈis-​tik How to pronounce terroristic (audio) \ adjective

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