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[ter-uh-fahy] /ˈtɛr əˌfaɪ/
verb (used with object), terrified, terrifying.
to fill with terror or alarm; make greatly afraid.
Origin of terrify
1565-75; < Latin terrificāre, equivalent to terr(ēre) to frighten + -ificāre -ify
Related forms
terrifier, noun
terrifyingly, adverb
unterrified, adjective
unterrifying, adjective
See frighten. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for terrified
  • It means pretending that you're not absolutely terrified.
  • Not only does he not swim, but he's kind of terrified of water.
  • Expatriates in particular are fleeing overseas, terrified by alarmist at home begging them to leave.
  • The first blasts terrified miners and their families.
  • Villages remain empty as terrified civilians stay away.
  • Administrators are terrified that the university will be sued, so they do everything in their power to avoid the time and expense.
  • terrified consumer-goods firms have cut costs and slashed prices.
  • Then came the sickening sound of a wild tumble, the clatter of hooves, a terrified wail.
  • Our companies have gotten so big they are terrified of losing money in speculation.
  • It looks terrified and exhilarated as, for the first time, it feels the medium in which it will spend almost all of its life.
British Dictionary definitions for terrified


verb -fies, -fying, -fied
(transitive) to inspire fear or dread in; frighten greatly
Derived Forms
terrifier, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin terrificāre, from terrēre to alarm + facere to cause
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 terrified



1570s, from Latin terrificare "to frighten," from terrificus "causing terror" (see terrific). Related: Terrified; terrifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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