- The intense fright you feel when you see a ghost is an example of terror.
- A weapon that causes extreme apprehension in enemies is an example of a weapon of terror.
- A dictator who kills citizens who don't seem to agree with his doctrine is an example of a terror.
- intense fear
- a person or thing causing intense fear
- the quality of causing such fear; terribleness
- a program of terrorism or a party, group, etc. resorting to terrorism
- Informal a very annoying or unmanageable person, esp. a child; nuisance; pest
Origin of terrorMiddle English terrour from Middle French terreur from Classical Latin terror from terrere, to frighten from Indo-European an unverified form ters-, to tremble (from source Classical Greek trein, to tremble, flee) from base an unverified form ter-, to wriggle
- Intense, overpowering fear. See Synonyms at fear.
- One that instills intense fear: a rabid dog that became the terror of the neighborhood.
- The ability to instill intense fear: the terror of jackboots pounding down the street.
- Violence committed or threatened by a group, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political goals.
- Terror The Reign of Terror during the French Revolution.
- Informal An annoying person or thing, especially an ill-mannered or disruptive child.
Origin of terrorMiddle English terrour from Old French terreur from Latin terror from terrēre to frighten
Usage Note: The word terrorism is sometimes shortened to terror, especially in phrases like the war on terror. The difference between the two words is subtle. Dropping the -ism suffix changes the focus from a reprehensible method of conducting a violent conflict to a moral abstraction. Thus, the war on terror conjures a grave, universal conflict between good and evil, where the war on terrorism does not.
(countable and uncountable, plural terrors)