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.

Other Words from terror

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

Synonyms for terror

Synonyms

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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 In the void, ARSA and other militants are waging a campaign of terror, demanding payments and recruits, according to camp residents who spoke with The Times. New York Times, 14 Nov. 2021 So, a relationship that had love in it now had a little bit of terror in it. CBS News, 13 Nov. 2021 Especially reuniting with my family after two years of terror. Selome Hailu, Variety, 12 Nov. 2021 The warnings come as US officials have raised concerns about domestic and foreign terror threats. Geneva Sands, CNN, 30 Oct. 2021 Though the nation remained entangled overseas, and vigilant against terror threats, the anniversary became more about healing. Time, 11 Sep. 2021 Though the nation remained entangled overseas, and vigilant against terror threats, the anniversary became more about healing. BostonGlobe.com, 11 Sep. 2021 Commissioner Kelly previously told Fox News that departments in major U.S. cities, such as New York, will likely be ramping up security and intelligence efforts to protect against any terror threats posed by the ongoing attacks in Afghanistan. Stephanie Pagones, Fox News, 2 Sep. 2021 As the United States prepares for potential terror threats on the anniversary of 9/11, educators bear a responsibility to maintain a safe learning environment. Amaarah Decuir, The Conversation, 31 Aug. 2021

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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Time Traveler for terror

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near terror

terron

terror

terrorful

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Statistics for terror

Last Updated

28 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Terror.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terror. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on terror

Nglish: Translation of terror for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of terror for Arabic Speakers

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