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terrorist

[ter-er-ist]
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noun
  1. a person, usually a member of a group, who uses or advocates terrorism.
  2. a person who terrorizes or frightens others.
  3. (formerly) a member of a political group in Russia aiming at the demoralization of the government by terror.
  4. an agent or partisan of the revolutionary tribunal during the Reign of Terror in France.
adjective
  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of terrorism or terrorists: terrorist tactics.

Origin of terrorist

1785–95; terror + -ist; compare French terroriste
Related formster·ror·is·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for terrorist

terrorist

noun
    1. a person who employs terror or terrorism, esp as a political weapon
    2. (as modifier)terrorist tactics
Derived Formsterroristic, adjective
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

Word Origin and History for terrorist

n.

in the modern sense, 1944, especially in reference to Jewish tactics against the British in Palestine -- earlier it was used of extremist revolutionaries in Russia (1866); and Jacobins during the French Revolution (1795) -- from French terroriste; see terror + -ist (also cf. terrorism). The tendency of one party's terrorist to be another's guerilla or freedom fighter was noted in reference to the British action in Cyprus (1956) and the war in Rhodesia (1973). The word terrorist has been applied, at least retroactively, to the Maquis resistance in occupied France in World War II (e.g. in the "Spectator," Oct. 20, 1979).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper