[ thril-er ]
/ ˈθrɪl ər /


a person or thing that thrills.
an exciting, suspenseful play or story, especially a mystery story.

Origin of thriller

1885–90; 1920–25 for def 2; thrill + -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for thriller

British Dictionary definitions for thriller

/ (ˈθrɪlə) /


a book, film, play, etc, depicting crime, mystery, or espionage in an atmosphere of excitement and suspense
a person or thing that thrills
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

Cultural definitions for thriller


A suspenseful, sensational story or film: “Ken Follett writes best-selling spy thrillers.”

notes for thriller

In Great Britain, the word thriller is sometimes used for all mystery novels: “Martha Grimes, an American, writes British-style thrillers.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.