Synonym Chooser

How is the word terror distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of terror are alarm, dread, fear, fright, panic, and trepidation. While all these words mean "painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger," terror implies the most extreme degree of fear.

immobilized with terror

When is it sensible to use alarm instead of terror?

The words alarm and terror are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, alarm suggests a sudden and intense awareness of immediate danger.

view the situation with alarm

When might dread be a better fit than terror?

While in some cases nearly identical to terror, 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

When can fear be used instead of terror?

The words fear and terror can be used in similar contexts, but fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually loss of courage.

fear of the unknown

In what contexts can fright take the place of terror?

While the synonyms fright and terror are close in meaning, fright implies the shock of sudden, startling fear.

fright at being awakened suddenly

Where would panic be a reasonable alternative to terror?

The synonyms panic and terror are sometimes interchangeable, but panic implies unreasoning and overmastering fear causing hysterical activity.

the news caused widespread panic

How do trepidation and dread relate to one another, in the sense of terror?

Trepidation adds to dread the implications of timidity, trembling, and hesitation.

raised the subject with trepidation

Thesaurus Entries Near terror

Cite this Entry

“Terror.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/terror. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on terror

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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