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[ter-uh-fahy] /ˈtɛr əˌfaɪ/
verb (used with object), terrified, terrifying.
to fill with terror or alarm; make greatly afraid.
Origin of terrify
1565-75; < Latin terrificāre, equivalent to terr(ēre) to frighten + -ificāre -ify
Related forms
terrifier, noun
terrifyingly, adverb
unterrified, adjective
unterrifying, adjective
Synonym Study
See frighten. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for terrify
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He speaks very loud, as if willing to terrify all Israel with his voice.

  • From time to time we will terrify these Germans with a little blast of wireless.

    The Destroyer Burton Egbert Stevenson
  • I did not mean to terrify you—but beware of what I told you.

    The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer, Complete Charles James Lever (1806-1872)
  • You did your very best to terrify her, but you never succeeded.

    One Of Them Charles James Lever
  • Come, Mr. M'Kinlay, say this is only a threat; do confess it was only meant to terrify.

    Luttrell Of Arran Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for terrify


verb -fies, -fying, -fied
(transitive) to inspire fear or dread in; frighten greatly
Derived Forms
terrifier, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin terrificāre, from terrēre to alarm + facere to cause
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for terrify

1570s, from Latin terrificare "to frighten," from terrificus "causing terror" (see terrific). Related: Terrified; terrifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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