- intense, sharp, overmastering fear: to be frantic with terror.
- an instance or cause of intense fear or anxiety; quality of causing terror: to be a terror to evildoers.
- any period of frightful violence or bloodshed likened to the Reign of Terror in France.
- violence or threats of violence used for intimidation or coercion; terrorism.
- Informal. a person or thing that is especially annoying or unpleasant.
Origin of terror
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for terror
And that is an awful lot less bloody than what happened during the Reign of Terror.Napoleon Was a Dynamite Dictator
November 7, 2014
The Sputnik shapes seem like a nod to Cold War surveillance morphing into Age of Terror surveillance.Art in the Age of National Security
Terry Greene Sterling
September 26, 2014
Yet his liberal voice was too often silenced on War on Terror issues.Eric Holder’s Legacy: Bold on Equality, Less So on Civil Liberties
Geoffrey R. Stone
September 26, 2014
Oddly enough, it was initially conceived as a weapon for the Global War on Terror.Death at Five Times the Speed of Sound
June 23, 2014
World War II had its parades; Vietnam had its protests; and the War on Terror?Divided in the Wake of Fort Hood
April 16, 2014
Terror itself, and the mystery of the unknown, led to his living.White Fang
These are the reflections of a man who wrote amid the Terror.Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle
H. N. Brailsford
Terror and anguish coursed furiously in her body unable to find an issue.Therese Raquin
Terror had destroyed her mind; and it was a mercy, so charmed did she appear with the beauty of the morning.The Flood
Only a few miles to the west the Erebus and Terror were lost.
- great fear, panic, or dread
- a person or thing that inspires great dread
- informal a troublesome person or thing, esp a child
Word Origin and History for terror
late 14c., "great fear," from Old French terreur (14c.), from Latin terrorem (nominative terror) "great fear, dread," from terrere "fill with fear, frighten," from PIE root *tre- "shake" (see terrible). Meaning "quality of causing dread" is attested from 1520s; terror bombing first recorded 1941, with reference to German air attack on Rotterdam. Sense of "a person fancied as a source of terror" (often with deliberate exaggeration, as of a naughty child) is recorded from 1883. The Reign of Terror in French history (March 1793-July 1794) so called in English from 1801. Old English words for "terror" included broga and egesa.
Idioms and Phrases with terror
see holy terror.