terrorize

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

Definition of terrorize

transitive verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from terrorize

terrorization \ ˌter-​ər-​ə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce terrorization (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for terrorize

Synonyms

Antonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Even while in custody, Shiue continued to terrorize them. Greg Hanlon, PEOPLE.com, "Inside the Miraculous Escape of a Mom and Daughter Held Captive in Closet for 53 Days," 4 Oct. 2019 Jordan Peele’s horror film about a family’s serene beach vacation that turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them. Houston Chronicle, "Outside the Megaplex: Here are the Houston arthouse movies showing Sept. 13-19," 12 Sep. 2019 In a colonized society that terrorized you for looking like yourself, emulating your oppressors made practical sense. Tia Williams, Glamour, "Dear Black Moms, It's on Us to Dismantle What 'Good Hair' Means for Our Daughters," 24 Sep. 2018 Legend has it that the souls of those lost to Lake Michigan returns to terrorize anyone who dares to step foot inside Lloyd’s Boat House. Annie Alleman, chicagotribune.com, "Find thrills and chills at north suburban fall, Halloween activities," 11 Sep. 2019 In Syria, Assad’s strategy relied heavily on aerial attacks—using poison gas, indiscriminate shelling, and barrel bombs to terrorize the population, until everyone except the rebels fled. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, "The Moral Logic of Humanitarian Intervention," 9 Sep. 2019 By placing Joker in a world more like our own for Fleck to terrorize, Phillips has changed the stakes of this villain. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Is Joker Just a Movie?," 5 Sep. 2019 Cyberwar has been used to terrorize individual companies and temporarily render entire governments comatose. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, "The WIRED Guide to Cyberwar," 23 Aug. 2019 At the same time, unsurprisingly, the Taliban continues to terrorize, and to deny the legitimacy of, the rickety, U.S.-backed government in Kabul — whose days are numbered once U.S. forces exit. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Losing the War in Forgotten Afghanistan," 10 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of terrorize

1823, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about terrorize

Statistics for terrorize

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for terrorize

The first known use of terrorize was in 1823

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for terrorize

terrorize

verb
How to pronounce terrorize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of terrorize

: to cause (someone) to be extremely afraid
: to force (someone) to do something by using threats or violence

terrorize

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

Kids Definition of terrorize

1 : to fill with fear
2 : to use terrorism against

terrorize

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

Legal Definition of terrorize

: to inflict terror upon

Other Words from terrorize

terrorization \ ˌter-​ər-​ə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce terrorization (audio) \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on terrorize

What made you want to look up terrorize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the exactly right word or phrasing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!