Definition of terrorize in English:


(also terrorise)


  • Create and maintain a state of extreme fear and distress in (someone); fill with terror.

    ‘he used his private army to terrorize the population’
    ‘the union said staff would not be terrorized into ending their strike’
    • ‘She has been in trouble with the police since she was 11, stealing, terrorising the neighbours, setting fire to things.’
    • ‘They are taking action against a gang of bullies who are terrorising workers at the city's main mail depot.’
    • ‘A temporary banning order designed to stop two teenage thugs from terrorising residents has been extended for a further five weeks.’
    • ‘The horrors they commit are done by a few and are done for a political reason: to terrorize their enemies.’
    • ‘A massive European eagle owl believed to have been released illegally is terrorising walkers and animals on Ilkley Moor.’
    • ‘Extremists seek to terrorize innocent men, women and children, whoever they are and wherever they may live.’
    • ‘Two former students of Kingsdown School have been told to keep out of its grounds and area after terrorising teachers and pupils for a year and a half.’
    • ‘He often played the bully, terrorizing players young and old alike to improve his team's chances of winning.’
    • ‘It's classic terrorism where you attack the general population to terrorize the people to achieve a political aim.’
    • ‘Vandals brought havoc to two villages at the weekend causing damage and terrorizing residents.’
    • ‘Posters and leaflets are being distributed at Oldhams estate to publicise the terms of a court order banning the boy from terrorising residents.’
    • ‘The murder was likely aimed at terrorizing the local residents.’
    • ‘A former prison officer who works at a village youth club today spoke out on behalf of teenagers who have been blamed for terrorising residents.’
    • ‘A gang of young girls is terrorising residents of Darwin's northern suburbs.’
    • ‘The thought never crossed our minds that someone could walk into our house at night to terrorize us.’
    • ‘A witness to the robberies said the victims were terrorised by their attackers and were visibly shaking with fear.’
    • ‘He used to terrorize me, but as I grew older, he became funny to me.’
    • ‘He really enjoys himself when he can mentally terrorize his audience, shocking them to a catharsis.’
    • ‘Over the last few months, councillors and residents say some local youngsters have been on the warpath, terrorising the people of Sutton.’
    • ‘If we get a clear look at the thing that is terrorising us, we gain some measuring of understanding of it, and our imaginations don't work anywhere near as hard.’
    strike terror in, strike terror into, fill with terror, scare, frighten, terrify, petrify
    persecute, victimize, torment, tyrannize
    intimidate, menace, threaten, oppress, bully, browbeat, cow
    put the frighteners on, make it hot for someone, make things hot for someone
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