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


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: 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
And Reagan had negotiated with the terrorists to hold those hostages until after the election. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 20 Nov. 2023 Last weekend former Governor Chris Christie became the first Republican presidential candidate to visit Israel since the war began, meeting with government officials and victims of the October 7th terrorist attacks as well as families of hostages being held in Gaza. Nbc Universal, NBC News, 19 Nov. 2023 Hamas terrorists launched a surprise attack on Israel on Oct 7, which killed at least 1,200 people and injured thousands more, according to Israeli offices. Dr. Jade Cobern, ABC News, 18 Nov. 2023 Two short videos, shared by the terrorists themselves, quickly emerged showing groups of cheering Palestinian men, some armed, in the streets of Gaza crowding around half-naked and bloodied young Israeli women. Ruth Marks Eglash, Fox News, 18 Nov. 2023 Yes, the terrorist who plotted 9/11 went viral this week, and not in a good way. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 16 Nov. 2023 On November 26, 2008, ten Pakistani terrorists stealthily landed by sea in Mumbai. Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Affairs, 16 Nov. 2023 But many were shocked to see sympathy for — or agreement with — the terrorist who masterminded 9/11. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 15 Nov. 2023 That day, Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip breached the border, killed more than 1,200 Israeli civilians and soldiers, took over 200 hostages and hurt countless others, according to the Israeli authorities. Miriam Jordan Afif Amireh, New York Times, 15 Nov. 2023
Antisemitic incidents in the U.S. climbed 388% in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks last month, compared to the same period last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a group focused on fighting antisemitism and extremism. Phil Helsel, NBC News, 23 Nov. 2023 In recent weeks, following a deadly terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas last month and Israel’s retaliatory attacks in Gaza, Chaudry’s scathing social media posts have drawn ire from state officials who see her opinions as extreme and divisive. Katie Shepherd, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2023 Sue Dorfman/Zuma Press The Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7 continues to send shock waves throughout the world—especially in Israel. William A. Galston, WSJ, 21 Nov. 2023 In the same way, Palestinian insight into the devouring specters of antisemitic persecution awakened in Jews by the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack appears negligible. Roger Cohen, New York Times, 20 Nov. 2023 Israel is trying to defend itself against a genocidal terrorist threat. Brady Knox, Washington Examiner, 20 Nov. 2023 Little did the organizers know that two days later, Israel would face its worst terrorist attack in the history of the nation, with Hamas’ attack becoming the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. William Earl, Variety, 17 Nov. 2023 The terrorist group and staff at the hospital denied Hamas is using the hospital as a command center. Shannon K. Crawford, ABC News, 16 Nov. 2023 My daughter was taken as a hostage by a terrorist group. NBC News, 11 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'terrorist.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1794, in the meaning defined above


1795, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of terrorist was in 1794

Dictionary Entries Near terrorist

Cite this Entry

“Terrorist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrorist. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

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