- The definition of a nightmare is a bad dream, or an experience that is like a bad dream.
- An example of a nightmare is a dream of a monster that wakes a child.
- An example of a nightmare is a family having a flat tire on a busy freeway.
This girl has had a nightmare.
- Folklore, Historical an evil spirit believed to haunt and suffocate sleeping people
- a frightening dream, often accompanied by a sensation of oppression and helplessness
- any experience like a nightmare in its frightening or oppressing aspects
Origin of nightmareMiddle English nihtmare: see night and amp; mare
- A dream arousing feelings of intense fear, horror, and distress.
- An event or experience that is intensely distressing.
- A demon or spirit once thought to plague sleeping people.
Origin of nightmareMiddle English, a female demon that afflicts sleeping people : night, night; see night + mare, goblin (from Old English; see mer- in Indo-European roots).
- (now rare) A female demon or monster, thought to plague people while they slept and cause a feeling of suffocation and terror during sleep.
- A very bad or frightening dream.
- I had a nightmare that I tried to run but could neither move nor breathe.
- (figuratively) Any bad, miserable, difficult or terrifying situation or experience that arouses anxiety, terror, agony or great displeasure.
- Cleaning up after identity theft can be a nightmare of phone calls and letters.
From Middle English nightemare, niÈtmare, equivalent to night +"Ž mare (“evil spirit believed to afflict a sleeping person"). Cognate with Scots nichtmare, nichtmeer (“nightmare"), Dutch nachtmerrie (“nightmare"), Middle Low German nachtmÄr (“nightmare"), German Nachtmahr (“nightmare").