Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[thril-er] /ˈθrɪl ər/
a person or thing that thrills.
an exciting, suspenseful play or story, especially a mystery story.
Origin of thriller
1885-90; 1920-25 for def 2; thrill + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for thriller
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • How like a "thriller" it was to be rushing toward such a gripping scene!

    Spring Street James H. Richardson
  • If she only could write scenarios, what a thriller this would make!

    Exit Betty

    Grace Livingston Hill
  • “But a thriller,” Ace assured them, as Norris lighted his pipe on the lee of a bowlder.


    Allen Chaffee
  • This was a thriller that appealed to the familiar in him,—the impishness that died hard.

    Joyce of the North Woods Harriet T. Comstock
  • This is the weird, fantastic “thriller” from which sprang the Protocols.

    The History of a Lie Herman Bernstein
British Dictionary definitions for thriller


a book, film, play, etc, depicting crime, mystery, or espionage in an atmosphere of excitement and suspense
a person or thing that thrills
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for thriller

1889, "sensational story," agent noun from thrill (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
thriller in Culture

thriller definition

A suspenseful, sensational story or film: “Ken Follett writes best-selling spy thrillers.”

Note: In Great Britain, the word thriller is sometimes used for all mystery novels: “Martha Grimes, an American, writes British-style thrillers.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for thriller



An exciting movie, play, etc, esp a horror show; chiller (1889+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for thriller

Difficulty index for thriller

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for thriller

Scrabble Words With Friends