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terrify

[ter-uh-fahy]
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verb (used with object), ter·ri·fied, ter·ri·fy·ing.
  1. to fill with terror or alarm; make greatly afraid.
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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. 2018

Examples from the Web for terrifying

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Who'd keep him till this hour, terrifying of us all into fits?

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • He used to tell me about wonderful and terrifying adventures.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • The wall was high and the stones "jiggled" in a terrifying way.

    Four Girls and a Compact

    Annie Hamilton Donnell

  • And he had no idea from which direction the terrifying sound had come.

    Salvage in Space

    John Stewart Williamson

  • All the men placed themselves at the windows to hide the terrifying sight.

    The Flood

    Emile Zola


British Dictionary definitions for terrifying

terrifying

adjective
  1. causing great fear or dread; extremely frightening
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Derived Formsterrifyingly, adverb

terrify

verb -fies, -fying or -fied
  1. (tr) to inspire fear or dread in; frighten greatly
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Derived Formsterrifier, noun

Word Origin

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 terrifying

terrify

v.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper