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 That said, there have been memorable aspects to the way its storylines have paralleled the war against terrorism, and specifically the costs and tradeoffs to a functioning democracy associated with prosecuting it. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Homeland' begins the last leg of Carrie Mathison's long journey," 7 Feb. 2020 Pendley has praised the criminal Cliven Bundy clan, whose infamous armed standoffs against federal land regulators amounted to acts of domestic terrorism. Christopher Ketcham, The New Republic, "The Trump Official Who Could Obliterate Public Lands," 3 Feb. 2020 Additionally, Nigeria serves as a partner in U.S. anti-terrorism partner efforts. Michael Arceneaux, Essence, "Donald Trump’s Aim To Add All ‘Sh-thole Countries’ To The Travel Ban," 29 Jan. 2020 New York police dispute Clearview marketing claims A story in Buzzfeed News cast doubt on Clearview’s marketing claims that its technology helped New York police capture a terrorism suspect. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "A.I. is unstoppable. And A.I. is struggling.," 28 Jan. 2020 This vote expresses the support of the assembly in the fight against terrorism. Clair Macdougall, Quartz Africa, "Burkina Faso plans to recruit volunteers to battle Islamic terrorist groups," 24 Jan. 2020 The Department of Defense has increasingly used drones since the global war on terrorism began. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "U.S. Military bases in Arizona have been training for the Iranian conflict. Here's how," 8 Jan. 2020 Some of the family members grumble about the accommodations the military affords the terrorism suspects. Carol Rosenberg, New York Times, "Inside America’s War Court: Clothing and Culture at Guantánamo Bay," 27 Dec. 2019 So chances were diminished of any common and opportunistic concern between the West and Orthodox Russia against Islamic terrorism. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "A Russian Under Every Bed," 17 Dec. 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

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Terrorism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrorism?show=0&t=1404389826. Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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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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