Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sudden, overpowering terror, often affecting many people at once. See Synonyms at fear.
  • n. A sudden widespread alarm concerning finances, often resulting in a rush to sell property: a stock-market panic.
  • n. Slang One that is uproariously funny.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or resulting from sudden, overwhelming terror: panic flight.
  • adj. Of or resulting from a financial panic: panic selling of securities.
  • adj. Mythology Of or relating to Pan.
  • transitive v. To affect or be affected with panic. See Synonyms at frighten.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Pertaining to the god Pan.
  • adj. Of fear, fright etc: sudden or overwhelming (attributed by the ancient Greeks to the influence of Pan).
  • n. Overpowering fright, often affecting groups of people or animals.
  • n. Rapid reduction in asset prices due to broad efforts to raise cash in anticipation of continuing decline in asset prices.
  • v. To feel overwhelming fear.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Extreme or sudden and causeless; unreasonable; -- said of fear or fright.
  • n. A plant of the genus Panicum; panic grass; also, the edible grain of some species of panic grass.
  • n. A sudden, overpowering fright; esp., a sudden and groundless fright; terror inspired by a trifling cause or a misapprehension of danger
  • n. By extension: A sudden widespread fright or apprehension concerning financial affairs.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • [capitalized] Of or pertaining to the god Pan: as, Bacchic and Panic figures.
  • Inspired or as if inspired by Pan: applied to extreme or sudden fright: as, panic fear.
  • n. A sudden fright, particularly a sudden and exaggerated fright affecting a number of persons at once; terror without visible or appreciable cause, or inspired by a trifling cause or by misapprehension of danger.
  • n. Specifically An exaggerated alarm which takes possession of a trading community on the occurrence of a financial crisis, such as may be caused by the failure of an important bank, or the exposure of a great commercial swindle, inducing a general feeling of distrust, and impelling to hasty and violent measures to secure immunity from possible loss, thus often precipitating a general financial disaster which was at first only feared.
  • n. A grass of the genus Panicum.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. sudden mass fear and anxiety over anticipated events
  • v. cause sudden fear in or fill with sudden panic
  • n. an overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety
  • v. be overcome by a sudden fear

Etymologies

From French panique, terrified, from Greek Pānikos, of Pan (a source of terror, as in flocks or herds), groundless (used of fear), from Pān, Pan; see Pan.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French panique, from Ancient Greek πανικός ("pertaining to Pan"). Pan is the god of woods and fields who was the source of mysterious sounds that caused contagious, groundless fear in herds and crowds, or in people in lonely spots. (Wiktionary)

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