ter·​ror·​ist | \ ˈter-ər-ist How to pronounce terrorist (audio) \
plural terrorists

Definition of terrorist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an advocate or practitioner of terrorism as a means of coercion Opposition still runs high to the idea of releasing or bringing into U.S. prisons dozens of men widely considered dangerous terrorists even if many are not. Less than three weeks before the Winter Olympics are set to begin in the Russian city of Sochi, police there have begun hunting for suspected terrorists allegedly plotting attacks.Time



Definition of terrorist (Entry 2 of 2)

: or, relating to, or characteristic of terrorists or terrorism : practicing or involving violent acts of terror a terrorist organization The consequences of the U.S. response to the terrorist attacks of September 2001 will ramify for decades.— Joe Klein There is no margin for error when a real terrorist threat is present and the safety of the public, and the first responders, is in jeopardy.— Gary J. Laughlin

Examples of terrorist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Frank James, 62, was charged in federal court with violating a law prohibiting terrorist and other violent attacks against a mass transportation system, a US Attorney said. Christina Maxouris, CNN, 14 Apr. 2022 After the devastating Easter terrorist attacks, security concerns were thrust to the forefront of public consciousness, creating an opening in the elections for Mr. Rajapaksa and his family to return to power. New York Times, 3 Apr. 2022 Rights groups have called the detentions and the detention camp at Guantánamo, opened under President George W. Bush after the 2001 al-Qaida terrorist attacks, a historic wrong by the United States. Star Tribune, 29 July 2021 Since making Carlos, a 2010 miniseries about the Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, Assayas had often been approached about working in television again. Marley Marius, Vogue, 25 Apr. 2022 Father Bohdan of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Church in Bensenville, called Vladimir Putin a terrorist trying to destroy Ukraine. Graydon Megan, chicagotribune.com, 7 Apr. 2022 As part of ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna, the Iranian regime has reportedly demanded that the United States remove its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the U.S. foreign-terrorist list. David Harsanyi, National Review, 11 Apr. 2022 And in 2017, a terrorist plowed a truck full speed down the path, killing eight people and maiming many others. Rhoda Feng, The New Republic, 6 Apr. 2022 Her 2013 thriller, Zero Dark Thirty, told of the hunt for terrorist Osama bin Laden and earned her a best picture nomination. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective These voices are the early warning signs of another crisis in the making, a civil war in Afghanistan that again will harbor and anchor terrorist groups like Al-Qaida and others in the region that can pose serious threats to global security. Wazhma Frogh, CNN, 22 Apr. 2022 On Tuesday, in an address before the UN Security Council, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky compared the atrocities in Bucha to the actions of terrorist groups like the Islamic State. Brigid Kennedy, The Week, 7 Apr. 2022 Iran increased its support of terrorist groups in Yemen, Gaza, and Lebanon, and funded extremists in Iraq and Syria. John Yoo, National Review, 30 Mar. 2022 His government has declared major resistance organizations — regardless of whether they are directly engaged in armed struggle — as terrorist groups. Jerry Harmer, ajc, 27 Mar. 2022 In July, the pro-government publication OpIndia reported that the forum had filed a complaint with NCPCR, alleging that the social media company was promoting terrorism and allowing terrorist groups to use children in Jammu and Kashmir. Aarefa Johari, Quartz, 3 Feb. 2022 What effect has killing the heads of terrorist groups had in the past? Amira Jadoon, The Conversation, 3 Feb. 2022 In those developed after the 9/11 attacks, F.B.I. agents often got involved when someone expressed interest in joining Al Qaeda or in fomenting some kind of terrorist act. New York Times, 24 Jan. 2022 Even senior Taliban officials try to whitewash the terrorist act. Washington Post, 12 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'terrorist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of terrorist


1794, in the meaning defined above


1795, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of terrorist was in 1794

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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Terrorist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrorist. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for terrorist


ter·​ror·​ist | \ ˈter-ər-ist \

Kids Definition of terrorist

: someone who engages in terrorism

More from Merriam-Webster on terrorist

Nglish: Translation of terrorist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of terrorist for Arabic Speakers


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