follow Dictionary.com

Submit your word to be a Word of the Day!

terrorism

[ter-uh-riz-uh m] /ˈtɛr əˌrɪz əm/
noun
1.
the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
2.
the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
3.
a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.
Origin
1785-1795
1785-95; terror + -ism
Related forms
antiterrorism, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for terrorism
  • Smersh plans to commit a grand act of terrorism in the intelligence field.
  • They charged him with terrorism, believing he had connections with the ira.
  • He is also thoroughly trained and experienced in guerilla warfare and counter terrorism.
  • Those who do so run the risk of being investigated and prosecuted on terrorism charges.
  • He has authored several books, including two on fighting terrorism.
  • Amputation has also been used as a tactic in war and acts of terrorism.
British Dictionary definitions for terrorism

terrorism

/ˈtɛrəˌrɪzəm/
noun
1.
systematic use of violence and intimidation to achieve some goal
2.
the act of terrorizing
3.
the state of being terrorized
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for terrorism
n.

1795, in specific sense of "government intimidation during the Reign of Terror in France" (March 1793-July 1794), from French terrorisme, from Latin terror (see terror).

If the basis of a popular government in peacetime is virtue, its basis in a time of revolution is virtue and terror -- virtue, without which terror would be barbaric; and terror, without which virtue would be impotent. [Robespierre, speech in French National Convention, 1794]
General sense of "systematic use of terror as a policy" is first recorded in English 1798. At one time, a word for a certain kind of mass-destruction terrorism was dynamitism (1883); and during World War I frightfulness (translating German Schrecklichkeit) was used in Britain for "deliberate policy of terrorizing enemy non-combatants."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
terrorism in Culture

terrorism definition


Acts of violence committed by groups that view themselves as victimized by some notable historical wrong. Although these groups have no formal connection with governments, they usually have the financial and moral backing of sympathetic governments. Typically, they stage unexpected attacks on civilian targets, including embassies and airliners, with the aim of sowing fear and confusion. Israel has been a frequent target of terrorism, but the United States has increasingly become its main target. (See also September 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, Hezbollah, and Basque region.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for terrorism

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for terrorism

11
12
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with terrorism