Terrorism Definition

The act of terrorizing; use of force or threats to demoralize, intimidate, and subjugate, esp. such use as a political weapon or policy.
Webster's New World
The demoralization and intimidation produced in this way.
Webster's New World
The threat or actual use of violence in order to intimidate or create panic, especially when utilized as a means of attempting to influence political conduct.
Webster's New World Law

A form of psychological manipulation through warfare to the purpose of political or religious gains, by means of deliberately creating a climate of fear amongst the inhabitants of a specific geographical region.

Under U.S Code, section 2656, terrorism is defined to be violence brought against targets (usually noncombatant ones)—violence that is not only premeditated but also politically motivated. The groups carrying out the acts of violence are commonly subnational groups, religious extremists, or clandestine agents. The objective of their violence is to influence some audience, usually a nation or its people. International terrorism therefore usually involves acts of terrorism involving citizens of more than one country and is usually carried out by a terrorist group. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, Al-Qaeda has been said to engage in acts of international terrorism. To counteract such offences, on April 20, 2005, the United States posted rewards of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of two Canadians born in Tunisia—Abderraouf Jday (aged 49) and Abdelaziz Boussora (aged 51). Both terrorists were alleged to have ties to Al-Qaeda. According to government reports, seemingly minor terrorist activities occur on a more regular basis than most citizens would suspect, but these go relatively unnoticed because large numbers of individuals are not killed. For example, during President George W. Bush’s visit to Canada at the start of December 2004, Hydro-Quebec announced that it must tighten security around key installations after an anti-­globalization group naming itself “the Initiative for Internationalist Resistance” claimed responsibility for sabotaging a transmission tower in the backwoods of Quebec. Apparently, explosives were used in the terrorist exercise at a tower carrying high-voltage electricity to the United States. The group claimed the act was a “protest” timed with President Bush’s visit to Canada, but it had the potential to cause deaths and could thus be viewed as an attempted terrorist activity. More recently, in June 2006, an alleged group of 17 Canadian insider terrorists had their plot thwarted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Because the plan was discovered prior to any violent attacks, no one was injured. Associated Press. U.S. Canada In Brief. U.S. Offers Rewards for Terror Information. The Globe and Mail, April 21, 2005, p. A11; Canada In Brief. Hydro-Quebec Tightens Security After Sabotage. The Globe and Mail, December 7, 2004, p. A9. Wilson, C. CRS Report for Congress: Computer Attack and Cyberterrorism: Vulnerabilities and Policy Issues for Congress. [Online, October 17, 2003.] CRS Report Website. http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/ RL32114.pdf.
Webster's New World Hacker

Other Word Forms of Terrorism



Origin of Terrorism

  • The word first appears in English in 1795 in reference to the Jacobins of France, who ruled during the "˜Reign of Terror.'

    From Wiktionary

  • terror +"Ž -ism

    From Wiktionary


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