- a person, usually a member of a group, who uses or advocates terrorism.
- a person who terrorizes or frightens others.
- (formerly) a member of a political group in Russia aiming at the demoralization of the government by terror.
- an agent or partisan of the revolutionary tribunal during the Reign of Terror in France.
- of, relating to, or characteristic of terrorism or terrorists: terrorist tactics.
Origin of terrorist
- a person who employs terror or terrorism, esp as a political weapon
- (as modifier)terrorist tactics
in the modern sense, 1944, especially in reference to Jewish tactics against the British in Palestine -- earlier it was used of extremist revolutionaries in Russia (1866); and Jacobins during the French Revolution (1795) -- from French terroriste; see terror + -ist (also cf. terrorism). The tendency of one party's terrorist to be another's guerilla or freedom fighter was noted in reference to the British action in Cyprus (1956) and the war in Rhodesia (1973). The word terrorist has been applied, at least retroactively, to the Maquis resistance in occupied France in World War II (e.g. in the "Spectator," Oct. 20, 1979).