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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 terrifyingly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And this world of ours, after all, is such a terrifyingly big one.

    The Prairie Child Arthur Stringer
  • They were tragic, triumphant, grief-stricken, terrifyingly beautiful.

    I, Mary MacLane Mary MacLane
  • He seemed to regard her as a kind of Boeotia, and terrifyingly dour.

    Letters from America Rupert Brooke
  • The sunlit waste was terrifyingly immense bright, and empty.

    World of the Drone Robert Abernathy
  • The spirit of to-day is terrifyingly visible or invisible at will.

  • Withal are terrifyingly superfluous: they violently kill the wench to-morrow dawn who died restfully to-day at noon.

    I, Mary MacLane Mary MacLane
British Dictionary definitions for terrifyingly


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 terrifyingly



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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