terror

noun
ter·​ror | \ ˈter-ər How to pronounce terror (audio) , ˈte-rər\
plural terrors

Definition of terror

1 : a state of intense or overwhelming fear overcome by terror people fleeing the scene in terror He lived in terror of being caught.
2 : violence or the threat of violence used as a weapon of intimidation or coercion a regime that rules by terror especially : violent or destructive acts (such as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands an act of terror the war on terror sometimes used before another noun a terror attack
3 : a very frightening or terrifying aspect the terrors of war
4a : someone or something that inspires fear : scourge I stood before fierce Mrs. Mabel Johnston, his secretary and the terror of the office.— Russell Baker Before rifles were available to Eskimo hunters, bears were truly the terror of their existence.— Charles T. Feazel
b informal : an extremely disruptive or annoying person or thing especially : a misbehaving child : brat Their son is a little terror.

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Other Words from terror

terrorless \ ˈter-​ər-​ləs How to pronounce terrorless (audio) , ˈte-​rər-​ \ adjective

Synonyms for terror

Synonyms

affliction, demon (or daemon), hang-up, torment

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Choose the Right Synonym for terror

fear, dread, fright, alarm, panic, terror, trepidation mean painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger. fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually loss of courage. fear of the unknown dread usually adds the idea of intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety. faced the meeting with dread fright implies the shock of sudden, startling fear. fright at being awakened suddenly alarm suggests a sudden and intense awareness of immediate danger. view the situation with alarm panic implies unreasoning and overmastering fear causing hysterical activity. the news caused widespread panic terror implies the most extreme degree of fear. immobilized with terror trepidation adds to dread the implications of timidity, trembling, and hesitation. raised the subject with trepidation

Examples of terror in a Sentence

The sound of guns being fired fills me with terror. Many civilians fled in terror. a terror that is still fresh in her memory the terrors of life in the jungle a regime that rules by terror bombings and other acts of terror These people have been living with terror and the threat of terror for many years. a campaign of terror against ethnic minority groups
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Recent Examples on the Web

The granite slabs installed on the memorial plaza this spring recognize an initially unseen toll of the 2001 terror attacks: firefighters, police and others who died or fell ill after exposure to toxins unleashed in the wreckage. USA TODAY, "Animation behind bars, Elliott the elk, SkyStar: News from around our 50 states," 10 Sep. 2019 American forces invaded Afghanistan nearly 18 years ago, to hunt for Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda fighters weeks after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Lara Jakes, New York Times, "Trump Declares Afghan Peace Talks With Taliban ‘Dead’," 9 Sep. 2019 The memorial features pillars representing war eras including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the most recent terror attacks. cleveland.com, "North Ridgeville Chamber of Commerce hosts Mayoral Forum Sept. 25: Short Takes on Avon, Avon Lake and North Ridgeville," 6 Sep. 2019 Some 120 Israeli families who lost members in terror attacks disagree. Josefin Dolsten, sun-sentinel.com, "Why HBO series ‘Our Boys’ is causing controversy," 29 Aug. 2019 The fusion centers were established nationwide after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "MPD Chief Alfonso Morales on DNC 2020 security: 'This is going to be a team effort. We're all on board.'," 21 Aug. 2019 But according to a company source familiar with the project, Woke is in fact part of a counter-terror program funded by the British government -- raising ethical questions about transparency in such online initiatives. Tara John And Vasco Cotovio, CNN, "'Woke' news platform aimed at young Muslims is actually a secret UK counter-terror program," 16 Aug. 2019 Hong Kong legal experts say Beijing might be paving the way to use anti-terror laws to restrain the protesters. NBC News, "Hong Kong airport cancels all flights for second day amid protests," 13 Aug. 2019 On July 23rd Christopher Wray, the FBI director, said his agency had made around 100 domestic-terror arrests since October, most of them related to white supremacists. The Economist, "America grapples with a lethal mix of terrorism and lax gun laws," 8 Aug. 2019

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

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First Known Use of terror

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for terror

Middle English, from Anglo-French terrour, from Latin terror, from terrēre to frighten; akin to Greek trein to be afraid, flee, tremein to tremble — more at tremble

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Statistics for terror

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for terror

The first known use of terror was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for terror

terror

noun

English Language Learners Definition of terror

: a very strong feeling of fear
: something that causes very strong feelings of fear : something that is terrifying
: violence that is committed by a person, group, or government in order to frighten people and achieve a political goal

terror

noun
ter·​ror | \ ˈter-ər How to pronounce terror (audio) \

Kids Definition of terror

1 : a state of great fear They fled in terror.
2 : a cause of great fear All these, however, were mere terrors of the night …— Washington Irving, “Sleepy Hollow”

terror

noun
ter·​ror

Legal Definition of terror

: an intense fear of physical injury or death inflict terror by forced entry or unlawful assembly also : the infliction of such fear an act of terror

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More from Merriam-Webster on terror

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with terror

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for terror

Spanish Central: Translation of terror

Nglish: Translation of terror for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of terror for Arabic Speakers

Comments on terror

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