[hawr-er, hor-]



inspiring or creating horror, loathing, aversion, etc.: The hostages told horror stories of their year in captivity.
centered upon or depicting terrifying or macabre events: a horror movie.


horrors, (used as a mild expression of dismay, surprise, disappointment, etc.)

Origin of horror

1520–30; < Latin horror, equivalent to horr- (stem of horrēre to bristle with fear; see horrendous) + -or -or1; replacing Middle English orrour < Anglo-French < Latin horrōr-, stem of horror

Synonyms for horror

1. dread, dismay, consternation. See terror. 4. loathing, antipathy, detestation, hatred, abomination.

Antonyms for horror

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for horror

Contemporary Examples of horror

Historical Examples of horror

  • Then came smoke, the smell of scorching linen, and a cry of horror from Celine.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • There must be women there, and women meant screams, horror, betrayal.

  • So I said I didn't love her to save her from the knowledge of this horror.


    William J. Locke

  • Her friends advised her to leave it, but she had a horror of removal, of change.

  • Andrew, thrilling with horror, recognized one as a sawed-off shotgun.

British Dictionary definitions for horror



extreme fear; terror; dread
intense loathing; hatred
(often plural) a thing or person causing fear, loathing, etc
(modifier) having a frightening subject, esp a supernatural onea horror film

Word Origin for horror

C14: from Latin: a trembling with fear; compare hirsute
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 horror

early 14c., from Old French horror (12c., Modern French horreur) and directly from Latin horror "dread, veneration, religious awe," a figurative use, literally "a shaking, trembling, shudder, chill," from horrere "to bristle with fear, shudder," from PIE root *ghers- "to bristle" (cf. Sanskrit harsate "bristles," Avestan zarshayamna- "ruffling one's feathers," Latin eris (genitive) "hedgehog," Welsh garw "rough"). As a genre in film, 1934. Chamber of horrors originally (1849) was a gallery of notorious criminals in Madame Tussaud's wax exhibition.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with horror


see under throw up one's hands.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.