Definition of horror in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhôrər/


1An intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust: children screamed in horror
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  • But Toby doesn't react with horror or disgust or shock, instead complaining that Bree lied to him.
  • Shock, horror, disgust impinge on our sense of ourselves, creating a sense of crisis as our sense of completeness and comfort is threatened.
  • Judy gasped in shock and horror, paralyzed with disgust and unbridled rage as Sarah stormed out of the room.
terror, fear, fright, alarm, panic;
dread, trepidation
1.1A thing causing a feeling of fear, shock, or disgust: photographs showed the horror of the tragedy the horrors of civil war
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  • But there was another horror, one as difficult to believe.
  • Or come back later for some thoughts on how to effectively counter that horror.
  • Name your disaster, horror or tragedy, no matter how grotesque, and there will be someone making a joke of it somewhere.
awfulness, frightfulness, savagery, barbarity, hideousness;
atrocity, outrage
1.2A literary or film genre concerned with arousing feelings of horror: [as modifier]: a horror movie
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  • This is also one reason why I remain so steadfastly resolute about concentrating on fantasy, science fiction and horror film.
  • The work was a breakthrough, spawning the birth of two literary genres: science-fiction and horror fiction.
  • The science fiction and horror genres have often served as mirrors of the troubles and fears of the time.
1.3Intense dismay: to her horror she found that a thief had stolen the machine
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  • Imagine my horror and dismay when upon arriving at home and inserting batteries into it, it refused to work!
  • Both Harold and Vita viewed the rise of socialism with horror and dismay.
  • Schröder's announcement of an early election unleashed a wave of horror, dismay and rebellion in the ranks of the Greens.
dismay, consternation, perturbation, alarm, distress;
disgust, outrage, shock
1.4 [as exclamation] (horrors) chiefly humorous Used to express dismay: horrors, two buttons were missing!
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  • That would be a little like a Survivor Magazine Show - horrors!
  • Having shown their own disregard for Parliamentary convention they then affect outrage when the original sponsor got understandably irate and - oh horrors!
  • Their nasty-yet-comic raison d' être: better being a wandering gigolo than having to go off and get real jobs or - horrors!
1.5 [in singular] Intense dislike: many have a horror of consulting a dictionary
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  • I've trained myself to it in recent years, having a horror of the way some older citizens sink into a smelly, grubby state as they age, and being determined to avoid falling into the same trap.
  • Newman had a horror of ‘picture-making,’ almost a wish to transcend his medium.
  • They were the work of a determined minority of clergy and liturgists who had a horror of anything smacking of the transcendent.
1.6 (the horrors) An attack of extreme nervousness or anxiety: the mere thought of it gives me the horrors
2 informal A bad or mischievous person, especially a child: that little horror Zach was around
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  • As in every culture, where all other Indians in the story are proud and honourable, Emiliano happens to be a horror of almost fantastical proportions.
  • He thinks Anse is a horror of a human being to throw Darl down in the public street and handcuff him and to pour concrete on Cash's leg, forever destroying it.
rascal, devil, imp, monkey
informal terror, scamp, scalawag, tyke, varmint


Middle English: via Old French from Latin horror, from horrere 'tremble, shudder' (see horrid).

  • The Latin word horror was formed from horrere, meaning ‘to stand on end’ (referring to hair), and ‘to tremble, shudder’. This is the source of our word horror and of related words such as horrible (Middle English), and horrify (late 18th century). See also abhor, caprice

Words that rhyme with horror

begorra, Gomorrah

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hor·ror

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