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

Examples from the Web for terrifyingly

Contemporary Examples of terrifyingly

Historical Examples of terrifyingly

  • And this world of ours, after all, is such a terrifyingly big one.

    The Prairie Child

    Arthur Stringer

  • They were tragic, triumphant, grief-stricken, terrifyingly beautiful.

    I, Mary MacLane

    Mary MacLane

  • He seemed to regard her as a kind of Boeotia, and terrifyingly dour.

  • The sunlit waste was terrifyingly immense bright, and empty.

    World of the Drone

    Robert Abernathy

  • The spirit of to-day is terrifyingly visible or invisible at will.

British Dictionary definitions for terrifyingly


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 terrifyingly



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper