verb (used with object), ter·ri·fied, ter·ri·fy·ing.

to fill with terror or alarm; make greatly afraid.

Origin of terrify

1565–75; < Latin terrificāre, equivalent to terr(ēre) to frighten + -ificāre -ify
Related formster·ri·fi·er, nounter·ri·fy·ing·ly, adverbun·ter·ri·fied, adjectiveun·ter·ri·fy·ing, adjective

Synonym study

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

Related Words for terrified

frozen, scared, alarmed, frightened, awed, aghast

Examples from the Web for terrified

Contemporary Examples of terrified

Historical Examples of terrified

  • And as she dropped them she saw the terrified face of Cornelius open its eyes.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Her voice was that with which one seeks to cajole a terrified infant.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • But that afternoon of the first day at home she was terrified.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • What had so terrified the kongoni it would be impossible to say.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • It was simply a concert of howling monkeys that had so terrified me!

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

British Dictionary definitions for terrified


verb -fies, -fying or -fied

(tr) to inspire fear or dread in; frighten greatly
Derived Formsterrifier, noun

Word Origin for terrify

C16: from Latin terrificāre, from terrēre to alarm + facere to cause
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 terrified



1570s, from Latin terrificare "to frighten," from terrificus "causing terror" (see terrific). Related: Terrified; terrifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper