VIDEO FOR NIGHTMARE
The Scary History Behind The Word "Nightmare"
It's dark. You're alone. Was that a footstep? Did something just brush up against you? You fight to get up, but you're stuck ... right on top of you is a horrifying nightmare. Sorry, did you say a nightmare was on top of me?
synonym study for nightmare
Words nearby nightmare
BEHIND THE WORD
Where does the word nightmare come from?
Nightmares are scary and unpleasant. But you can rest easy knowing that the fascinating origin of the word nightmare makes it clear humans have been having them for hundreds of years.
In Old English, a mare was a kind of evil or cursed spirit. Mares appear in all kinds of folklore, including German and Slavic stories. Mares were said to ride on people’s chests at night, causing suffocation and bad dreams. These mares, often female, were known as nightmares (because they came at night).
By the 16th century, the word nightmare came to refer to a sensation of suffocation or anxiety during sleep, and now simply a bad dream. While nightmares are terrifying, there is good news: at least most of us don’t worry about evil spirits trying to suffocate us in our sleep anymore.
The roots of these other words may get a rise—of laughter or surprise—out of you. Run on over to our roundup of them at “Weird Word Origins That Will Make Your Family Laugh.”
Did you know … ?
Nightmares can have many causes—but evil spirits aren’t one of them, despite what Freddy Krueger might say. Stress, eating before bed, medication side effects, and sleep disorders can all cause bad dreams. While children are more likely to have them, half of all adults also report regularly having nightmares.
In fact, nightmares are so familiar (and frightening) to people that the word nightmare has been metaphorically extended to any terrible thought, experience, or situation that resembles a nightmare (e.g., Being lost at sea was a living nightmare).
Worth noting: A night terror is a sudden feeling of extreme fear that awakens a sleeping person, usually during slow-wave sleep, but it is not associated with a dream or nightmare.
The -mare in nightmare doesn’t have anything to do with a mare as in an adult female horse. This homophony hasn’t stopped the card game Magic: The Gathering and other works of pop culture from concocting fictional demonic horse characters that terrify people at night and which go by punny names like Nightmare.
How to use nightmare in a sentence
This is a nightmare for the thief, because they have to decide how much time and risk they want to devote to the job.
Burleson is widely credited with establishing the “zone system” to determine mail costs, while DeJoy has been praised for his logistics-oriented approach by those who see the postal service as a money-losing bureaucratic nightmare.Trump Isn’t the First President to Use His Postmaster for Politics|Fiona Zublin|August 21, 2020|Ozy
We gave them a bunch of different scenarios and asked them to weight which were most likely to bring about their nightmares.What Economists Fear Will Happen Without More Unemployment Aid|Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux|August 11, 2020|FiveThirtyEight
The league denied Delle Donne a high-risk exemption, despite her Lyme disease, which triggered a PR nightmare for the WNBA, but the Mystics said this week she will still be paid her full salary.
The latest indication came from county supervisor candidate Nora Vargas, who posted on Facebook Thursday a nightmare story of her attempts to get tested for the virus due to exposure she experienced in the course of her campaign.Morning Report: How We Got Here With Smart Streetlights|Voice of San Diego|July 10, 2020|Voice of San Diego
You know, I feel the same way about that that I do about The Nightmare Before Christmas.Tim Burton Talks ‘Big Eyes,’ His Taste For the Macabre, and the ‘Beetlejuice’ Sequel|Marlow Stern|December 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Uber responded to the PR nightmare by reversing the surge, refunding those affected, and doling out free rides.
For Jane Doe though, she was heading into yet another nightmare.
The path may be there, but current travelers to Sudan face a bureaucratic nightmare of permits and road blocks.
His lone stable was a girl from Newport News, Virginia, who had already escaped one nightmare.
As men fixed in the grip of nightmare, we were powerless—unable to do anything but wait.Gallipoli Diary, Volume I|Ian Hamilton
And the nightmare clutch laid hold upon his heart with giant pincers.The Wave|Algernon Blackwood
But a horrible thing that had happened to him, had awakened in him a lonely nightmare of restlessness.The Man from Time|Frank Belknap Long
It was a kind of nightmare, and her heart beat fast as the bids came rapidly,—sometimes on Howard's side and sometimes on Jack's.The Cromptons|Mary J. Holmes
They awoke on the morrow, their minds still distraught and deeming the thing was but a nightmare.The Merrie Tales Of Jacques Tournebroche|Anatole France
British Dictionary definitions for nightmare
- an event or condition resembling a terrifying dreamthe nightmare of shipwreck
- (as modifier)a nightmare drive