- a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.
- an instance, outbreak, or period of such fear.
- Finance. a sudden widespread fear concerning financial affairs leading to credit contraction and widespread sale of securities at depressed prices in an effort to acquire cash.
- Slang. someone or something that is considered hilariously funny: The comedian was an absolute panic.
- of the nature of, caused by, or indicating panic: A wave of panic buying shook the stock market.
- (of fear, terror, etc.) suddenly destroying the self-control and impelling to some frantic action.
- (initial capital letter) of or relating to the god Pan.
- to affect with panic; terrify and cause to flee or lose self-control.
- Slang. to keep (an audience or the like) highly amused.
- to be stricken with panic; become frantic with fear: The herd panicked and stampeded.
Origin of panic1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for panic on Thesaurus.com
- Also called panic grass. any grass of the genus Panicum, many species of which bear edible grain.
- the grain.
Origin of panic2
Examples from the Web for panic
Just two young kids experiencing the panic, pain, and then the miracle, of new birth.Jesus Wasn’t Born Rich. Think About It.
December 25, 2014
Hence, I suspect, the panic, the lockdown, the capitulation.Pyongyang Shuffle: Hollywood In Dead Panic Over Sony Hack
December 19, 2014
Someone was sure to capitalize on the Ebola panic, and Dr. Joseph Alton is that guy.
In one sentence, he asserts: “Panic is worse than complacency.”
Panic—and the inevitable panicking about the panic—is counterproductive.Fighting Ebola and Starvation in Sierra Leone
November 5, 2014
Seized with a panic, my mother, to make a man of me at once, sent me to —— school.Tales And Novels, Volume 5 (of 10)
The panic excited by the squatter skunk had been another lesson.With Trapper Jim in the North Woods
Lawrence J. Leslie
But he had scarcely marked the paper when he started back, in a panic.Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit
After the panic had once seized the enemy there was but little firing.Freeland
I have allowed myself to give way to panic like a child in the dark.Roden's Corner
Henry Seton Merriman
- a sudden overwhelming feeling of terror or anxiety, esp one affecting a whole group of people
- (modifier) of or resulting from such terrorpanic measures
- to feel or cause to feel panic
- of or relating to the god Pan
Word Origin and History for panic
"mass terror," 1708, from earlier adjective (c.1600, modifying fear, terror, etc.), from French panique (15c.), from Greek panikon, literally "pertaining to Pan," the god of woods and fields, who was the source of mysterious sounds that caused contagious, groundless fear in herds and crowds, or in people in lonely spots.
In the sense of "panic, fright" the Greek word is short for panikon deima "panic fright," from neuter of Panikos "of Pan." Meaning "widespread apprehension about financial matters" is first recorded 1757. Panic button in figurative sense is first recorded 1955, the literal sense apparently is from parachuting. Panic attack attested by 1970.
type of grass, early 15c., from Old French panic "Italian millet," from Latin panicum "panic grass, kind of millet," from panus "ear of millet, a swelling" (cf. panocha).
1827, "to afflict with panic," from panic (n.). Intransitive sense of "to lose one's head, get into a panic" is from 1902. Related: Panicked; panicking.
- A sudden overpowering feeling of terror.