Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To fill with terror; make deeply afraid. See Synonyms at frighten.
  • transitive v. To menace or threaten; intimidate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To frighten greatly; to fill with terror.
  • v. To menace or intimidate.
  • v. To make terrible.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make terrible.
  • transitive v. To alarm or shock with fear; to frighten.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make afraid; strike with fear; affect or fill with terror; frighten; alarm.
  • To make terrible.
  • Synonyms To scare, horrify, appal, daunt. See afraid.

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

  • v. fill with terror; frighten greatly

Etymologies

Latin terrificāre, from terrificus, terrific; see terrific.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin terrificare (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It used the term "climate porn" to describe what it categorized as alarmist language on climate issues meant to "thrill" and "terrify" - but which failed to encourage meaningful action.

    Christian Science Monitor | Top Stories

  • Charlie Cook recently wrote that Congress 'current poll numbers should "terrify" them, especially as they continue to lose support among the all-important independent voting bloc.

    Cornyn expresses optimism, caution on 2010

  • Condoleezza Rice urged Qurei to back down during their July 29 meeting in Washington, saying his statements "terrify" Livni.

    latimes.com - News

  • The next day Clarke and Stewart came up with a plan, which Stewart later said was to meant to "terrify" their victim.

    BBC News | News Front Page | UK Edition

  • If he refuses to "terrify" the child by telling him the truth, does this mean he will tell the child a white lie? vii) BTW, isn't it overstated to suggest it's always abusive to scare children?

    Triablogue

  • By the end of the twentieth century, those three letters would annually terrify not only new crops of U.S. high school students, but scores of thousands of nonnative users of English taking the examination in hundreds of countries and territories, all hoping to pursue higher education in the heartland of Global English.

    The English Is Coming!

  • The press is trying to terrify celebrities into not using Twitter.

    Russell Crowe "Very Sorry" for Circumcision Comments

  • Lancaster's first – and possibly last – Six Nations squad may not necessarily terrify the French, the Welsh, the Irish or the Scots but opponents would be correct to sense that the days of English complacency are over.

    Stuart Lancaster has reinvigorated England's Six Nations outlook

  • I've been exercising a lot – running and doing Bikram yoga and all the things I've been avoiding in the past 10 years – because wearing 1940s bikinis on stage is enough to terrify anyone into submission.

    Samantha Womack: 'The grittier elements in South Pacific often get lost'

  • Outside philosophy, the empty page is an image to terrify writers.

    In praise of … John Locke | Editorial

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