terrorize

verb

ter·​ror·​ize ˈter-ər-ˌīz How to pronounce terrorize (audio)
terrorized; terrorizing

transitive verb

1
: to fill with terror or anxiety : scare
2
: to coerce by threat or violence
terrorization noun

Examples of terrorize in a Sentence

As a child she terrorized her younger siblings. She was terrorized by nightmares. Employees were terrorized into accepting abysmal working conditions.
Recent Examples on the Web The trailer shows Keaton terrorizing a frightened looking townsperson who keeps insisting the ghost in front of him is an illusion. Brent Lang, Variety, 10 Apr. 2024 In 1989, Charles Stuart claimed that a Black man had shot him and his pregnant wife, Carol, spurring a racist manhunt that terrorized and ensnared innocent people. Longreads, 22 Mar. 2024 Experts said these videos are likely part of propaganda campaigns designed to scare rivals and terrorize local Haitians rather than a reflection of common or normalized behavior. David Ingram, NBC News, 13 Mar. 2024 The gangs terrorized the population with systematic rape, indiscriminate kidnapping and mass killing, all with impunity. Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2024 The Aryan Nations and other white supremacist groups have terrorized the region since at least the 1970s, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Char Adams, NBC News, 27 Mar. 2024 Since the president’s assassination at his home outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti has plunged into total chaos as armed gangs have terrorized the island nation with no presidential election on the horizon. Jay Weaver, Miami Herald, 5 Mar. 2024 But in the late 1920s and early 1930s gangsters began using them for their criminal activities, often terrorizing the streets. Nina Totenberg, NPR, 28 Feb. 2024 For more than a week, Haiti’s all-powerful gangs have terrorized Port-au-Prince, attacking the airport, port, government buildings and at least a dozen of the city’s police stations. Amanda Coletta, Washington Post, 12 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'terrorize.' 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

1823, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of terrorize was in 1823

Dictionary Entries Near terrorize

Cite this Entry

“Terrorize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrorize. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

terrorize

verb
ter·​ror·​ize ˈter-ər-ˌīz How to pronounce terrorize (audio)
terrorized; terrorizing
1
: to fill with terror
2
: to force by threat or violence
terrorization noun

Legal Definition

terrorize

transitive verb
ter·​ror·​ize ˈter-ər-ˌīz How to pronounce terrorize (audio)
terrorized; terrorizing
: to inflict terror upon
terrorization noun

More from Merriam-Webster on terrorize

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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