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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 terrify
  • The thought of making anything as fragile-looking as a tall soufflé can terrify cooks.
  • It had its beginnings in royal authority, and it has been used to terrify the weak.
  • He has no problem with other animals, but people terrify him.
  • They never deliberately targeted civilians to terrify a nation.
  • It's a teleportation device which will surely terrify the travel industry with its promise of free, instantaneous transportation.
  • Such dangers terrify small businesses, shareware authors, and people writing free software.
  • She distorted the truth, ignored evidence, and used every means at her disposal to terrify parents into not vaccinating.
  • The mere notion of the possibility of his ever seeing her again, appeared to terrify him.
  • As with cooking and the investing of money, it is made a cult whose initiates seek to terrify outsiders.
  • It is designed not merely to terrify but to make an argument.
British Dictionary definitions for terrify


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 terrify

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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