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[hawr-er, hor-] /ˈhɔr ər, ˈhɒr-/
an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear:
to shrink back from a mutilated corpse in horror.
anything that causes such a feeling:
killing, looting, and other horrors of war.
such a feeling as a quality or condition:
to have known the horror of slow starvation.
a strong aversion; abhorrence:
to have a horror of emotional outbursts.
Informal. something considered bad or tasteless:
That wallpaper is a horror. The party was a horror.
horrors, Informal.
  1. delirium tremens.
  2. extreme depression.
inspiring or creating horror, loathing, aversion, etc.:
The hostages told horror stories of their year in captivity.
centered upon or depicting terrifying or macabre events:
a horror movie.
horrors, (used as a mild expression of dismay, surprise, disappointment, etc.)
Origin of horror
1520-30; < Latin horror, equivalent to horr- (stem of horrēre to bristle with fear; see horrendous) + -or -or1; replacing Middle English orrour < Anglo-French < Latin horrōr-, stem of horror
1. dread, dismay, consternation. See terror. 4. loathing, antipathy, detestation, hatred, abomination.
1. serenity. 4. attraction. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for horror
  • Uncontrollable feelings of fear and horror can overwhelm sufferers.
  • horror manifests the primal fear: loss of will, helplessness.
  • horror movies have never not had a following, of course.
  • For the past few years the independent film business has resembled a low-budget horror movie.
  • Never underestimate the eagerness of schlock horror filmmakers to go for the easy direct-to-video cash grab.
  • The photo below shows a few square inches of the horror.
  • With horror or movies of the supernatural, there is still a stigma in the critical community.
  • They spare gift-givers the strain of choosing anything specific, and recipients the horror of having to keep the result.
  • Poe pioneered the psychological horror story, the detective story, and the emerging genre of science fiction.
  • Homework horror stories are as timeworn as school bullies and cafeteria mystery meat.
British Dictionary definitions for horror


extreme fear; terror; dread
intense loathing; hatred
(often pl) a thing or person causing fear, loathing, etc
(modifier) having a frightening subject, esp a supernatural one: a horror film
Word Origin
C14: from Latin: a trembling with fear; compare hirsute
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
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Word Origin and History for horror

early 14c., from Old French horror (12c., Modern French horreur) and directly from Latin horror "dread, veneration, religious awe," a figurative use, literally "a shaking, trembling, shudder, chill," from horrere "to bristle with fear, shudder," from PIE root *ghers- "to bristle" (cf. Sanskrit harsate "bristles," Avestan zarshayamna- "ruffling one's feathers," Latin eris (genitive) "hedgehog," Welsh garw "rough"). As a genre in film, 1934. Chamber of horrors originally (1849) was a gallery of notorious criminals in Madame Tussaud's wax exhibition.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with horror


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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