There are 2 main definitions of panic in English:

Share this entry

Share this page

panic1

Syllabification: pan·ic
Pronunciation: /ˈpanik
 
/

noun

1Sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior: she hit him in panic [in singular]: he ran to the library in a blind panic
More example sentences
  • So now here I am, full of fear and panic and anxiety once again.
  • Anxiety symptoms were also high, with 64% reporting symptoms of fear, panic or anxiety.
  • But it is far more likely that you would be affected by fear and panic than a terrorist weapon.
Synonyms
alarm, anxiety, nervousness, fear, fright, trepidation, dread, terror, agitation, hysteria, consternation, perturbation, dismay, apprehension
informal flap, fluster, cold sweat, funk, tizzy, swivet
1.1Widespread financial or commercial apprehension provoking hasty action: he caused an economic panic by his sudden resignation [as modifier]: panic selling
More example sentences
  • We should strengthen the IMF's ability to prevent financial panics from turning into full-scale economic meltdowns such as we've seen in Argentina.
  • This suspension was unprecedented in that it was not preceded by a financial panic or a sudden demand for coin.
  • Unlike more transitory fads and fashions, however, financial manias and panics have real and lasting economic consequences.
1.2 informal A frenzied hurry to do something: a workload of constant panics and rush jobs
More example sentences
  • She span off into a frenzied panic that could only be alleviated by rushing round to the neighbour's for a cup of tea.
  • It always starts near Kensington plaza, where people have abandoned their bags of groceries to rush home in a panic.
  • As panic ensued gardaí rushed to the scene urging staff and customers to evacuate the building, as they searched to find the potential raider.

verb (panics, panicking, panicked)

Back to top  
Feel or cause to feel panic: [no object]: the crowd panicked and stampeded for the exit [with object]: talk of love panicked her
More example sentences
  • It was crowded and I started panicking and feeling faint.
  • The crowd panicked and some jumped into a well to be crushed by those jumping after them.
  • Oh, to be sure, there are always folks who panic, or loot.
Synonyms
be alarmed, be scared, be nervous, be afraid, take fright, be agitated, be hysterical, lose one's nerve, get overwrought, get worked up
informal flap, get in a flap, lose one's cool, get into a tizzy, freak out, get in a stew, have kittens
frighten, alarm, scare, unnerve
informal throw into a tizzy, freak out

Origin

early 17th century: from French panique, from modern Latin panicus, from Greek panikos, from the name of the god Pan, noted for causing terror, to whom woodland noises were attributed.

More
  • Pan was the Greek god of flocks and herds, usually represented with the horns, ears, and legs of a goat on a man's body. His sudden appearance was supposed to cause terror similar to that of a frightened and stampeding herd. In Greek his name probably originally meant ‘the feeder’ referring to his role as god of flocks, but it was early on interpreted as from pan meaning ‘all’ and he was identified as a god of nature or the universe. Panic button originated in the US Air Force. Second World War bombers had an emergency bell system that was used if the aircraft was so badly damaged by fighters or flak that it had to be abandoned—the pilot gave a ‘prepare-to-abandon’ ring and then a ring meaning ‘jump’.

Derivatives

panicky

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • You should probably be nervous and panicky, at the same time appearing nonchalant and bored.
  • The stars really are challenging right now, but still nothing to get frantic and panicky about.
  • My inexperience there made everything more panicky and full of nervous energy.

Definition of panic in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

There are 2 main definitions of panic in English:

Share this entry

Share this page

panic2

Syllabification: pan·ic
Pronunciation: /ˈpanik
 
/
(also panic grass)

noun

Any of a number of cereal and fodder grasses related to millet.
Example sentences
  • Two of the most common, but functionally indeterminate, grass grains regularly identified from American Bottom sites are panic grass (Panicum sp.) and beardgrass.
  • In microsites with higher light intensity, little bluestem, big bluestem, Indian grass, and panic grass dominated.
  • I live on the unfashionable west side of Santa Fe, where the neighborhood is small and funky, adobe houses sitting in well-tended yards of flax and hollyhocks or the neglected ones of dirt and panic grass with a few old car parts thrown in.

Origin

late Middle English: from Latin panicum, from panus 'ear of millet' (literally 'thread wound on a bobbin'), based on Greek pēnos 'web', pēnion 'bobbin'.

More
  • Pan was the Greek god of flocks and herds, usually represented with the horns, ears, and legs of a goat on a man's body. His sudden appearance was supposed to cause terror similar to that of a frightened and stampeding herd. In Greek his name probably originally meant ‘the feeder’ referring to his role as god of flocks, but it was early on interpreted as from pan meaning ‘all’ and he was identified as a god of nature or the universe. Panic button originated in the US Air Force. Second World War bombers had an emergency bell system that was used if the aircraft was so badly damaged by fighters or flak that it had to be abandoned—the pilot gave a ‘prepare-to-abandon’ ring and then a ring meaning ‘jump’.

Definition of panic in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.