Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A sudden, overpowering feeling of fear, often affecting many people at once. synonym: fear.
  • noun A state of extreme anxiety, such as that involved in a panic attack.
  • noun A state of frantic activity, usually accompanied by extreme concern or anxiety.
  • noun A sudden widespread alarm concerning finances, often resulting in a rush to sell property to raise cash.
  • noun Slang A person or thing that is considered extremely funny.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or resulting from sudden, overwhelming terror.
  • adjective Of or resulting from a financial panic.
  • adjective Mythology Of or relating to Pan.
  • transitive & intransitive verb To affect or be affected with panic. synonym: frighten.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • [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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A grass of the genus Panicum.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[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.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

Examples

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