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

Example Sentences

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 Brock Higdon spends his Saturdays trying to terrorize opposing quarterbacks, but for one day put a scare into many of his teammates. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 2 Nov. 2022 Grover Norquist, who would later terrorize Republican candidates with his no-tax-raises pledge, was still just a kid in business school. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 21 Oct. 2022 Through the letters, the stalker starts to terrorize Dean, Nora and their kids. Katherine Schaffstall, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Oct. 2022 While the show is based on the true story of a stalker who used creepy letters to terrorize the owners of a New Jersey home, the dramatization takes a few departures from the real story. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, 13 Oct. 2022 Brown believes in aggressively arresting and prosecuting the small core of shooters and killers who terrorize poor communities. ABC News, 9 Oct. 2022 Fierce competition for massive drug profits has also fueled the rise of neo-paramilitary groups that terrorize the region with wanton killings and armed assaults. Jason Motlagh, Outside Online, 19 July 2016 In the 2015 release Legend, Tom Hardy plays identical twin brothers Reggie and Ronnie Kray, notorious gangsters who both terrorize and captivate the public while eluding the authorities in 1960s London. Andy Meek, BGR, 19 Oct. 2022 Still, while there was some military justification for the bombing, its aim was to kill lots of Japanese and terrorize them into ending the war. Bob Carden, BostonGlobe.com, 1 Sep. 2022 See More

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

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 28 Nov. 2022.

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

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