balance of terror

noun
  1. the distribution of nuclear arms among nations such that no nation will initiate an attack for fear of retaliation: maintaining the balance of terror between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Origin of balance of terror

First recorded in 1955–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

balance of terror in Culture

balance of terror

The balance of power between nations that are equipped with nuclear weapons, stemming from their fear of mutual annihilation in a nuclear war.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.