Definition of horror in US English:

horror

noun

  • 1An intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.

    ‘children screamed in horror’
    • ‘Traumatic events have in common the ability to elicit intense and immediate fear, helplessness, horror and distress.’
    • ‘Consumers have reacted with shock and horror over reports that frozen chickens sold in supermarkets are often fed on ground up chicken parts mixed in with grain.’
    • ‘I don't care if they made you laugh, cry, scream in shock or from horror, just tell me what they are!’
    • ‘The fear and horror in their eyes was very evident in the video, if it is a hoax then they certainly have a promising future in Hollywood.’
    • ‘We have experienced so much horror, pain and fear since then that it seems like a lifetime ago.’
    • ‘Judy gasped in shock and horror, paralyzed with disgust and unbridled rage as Sarah stormed out of the room.’
    • ‘However, I note with fear and horror that somebody is trying to suppress the truth on the only website brave enough to tell it how it is.’
    • ‘We see the human face every day, and though it affects us in many ways, fear and horror would not normally be among those emotions.’
    • ‘I felt fear, horror, hatred but it was all mixed up into one feeling.’
    • ‘Shocked, I reeled away in horror, fearing that some passing stranger might take me for a rubber fetishist, a thought that appals and revolts me.’
    • ‘But she wasn't screaming in horror or fear, but with easily recognizable rage.’
    • ‘There were feelings of horror, repulsion and fear being expressed.’
    • ‘Emotions such as fear, horror, disgust, etc. are not intrinsically unpleasant.’
    • ‘The new year began as the last one ended, in fear, horror and bloodshed.’
    • ‘Individuals can respond to these experiences with intense fear, horror or a sense of helplessness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I have to admit that much of the intense fear and horror I was experiencing has now passed.’
    • ‘A number of us watched - more in shock or surprise than horror.’
    • ‘When people do dare broach the subject they talk of it with a wide range of emotions - horror, disgust, anger, bitterness, resentment.’
    terror, fear, fear and trembling, fearfulness, fright, alarm, panic, dread, trepidation
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    1. 1.1 A thing causing a feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.
      ‘photographs showed the horror of the tragedy’
      ‘the horrors of civil war’
      • ‘Napoleon, Chris says, has been criticised for sleepwalking his way through the horrors of the retreat, unaware of the sufferings of his soldiers.’
      • ‘This is maybe how the world avoids a horror of the kind it has never seen.’
      • ‘The horrors of the terrorism could not be rationalized.’
      • ‘Because its scope, scale, and horrors seem incomprehensible to us now, World War II continues to fascinate us.’
      • ‘Isn't it time we looked closer to earth for effective solutions to terrorism's horrors?’
      • ‘At worst, it can be highly offensive; a horror of sexist trappings and misguided tensions.’
      • ‘He added that the struggle between good and evil was still being waged today, highlighting the horrors of the past century, including terrorism.’
      • ‘There has been some talk of strategies, but one of the horrors of terrorism is that there are no tactics.’
      • ‘Clippings from films and documentaries showing the horrors of war and terrorism are interspersed throughout.’
      • ‘The purpose of such action is to force average people to their knees and hold them hostage to the horrors of terrorism.’
      • ‘Or come back later for some thoughts on how to effectively counter that horror.’
      • ‘No wonder he remained to be a stranger to everyone else for no one dared or risked taking a step into such a place filled with horrors and terrors that only the Shadow Assailant knew of.’
      • ‘But there was another horror, one as difficult to believe.’
      • ‘Then there are the great unknowns such as the horrors being planned by terrorists and others who thrive on chaos and destruction.’
      • ‘The characters all speak in melodramatic, incomplete sentences as if they knew unspeakable horrors, but this tactic merely delays revelations that turn out to be quite dull.’
      • ‘We know the names of the countries, we hear the names of the leaders every day in the news, we discuss the politics, the horrors and the terrors.’
      • ‘But here, the main issue is civilian incomprehension of the horrors of war, as a shell-shocked young hero returns home only to greet news of his DSO with disgust.’
      • ‘And our government are prepared to send those who have fled from this terror back into these horrors?’
      • ‘From Madrid to Moscow the horrors of the terrorist bomb took a dreadful toll last week.’
      • ‘Name your disaster, horror or tragedy, no matter how grotesque, and there will be someone making a joke of it somewhere.’
      • ‘One could live and work in the capital and be practically oblivious to the horrors of the war and daily terror that many Colombian women face and shared with me.’
      • ‘Wilson's idealism and incompetence unleashed or hastened many of the horrors of the 20th century, abroad and at home.’
      awfulness, frightfulness, cruelty, savagery, gruesomeness, ghastliness, hideousness
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    2. 1.2 A literary or film genre concerned with arousing feelings of horror.
      as modifier ‘a horror movie’
      • ‘Don't Look Now is a beautifully restrained horror film.’
      • ‘In contemporary popular cinema, it is virtually impossible to cleanly demarcate the genres of horror and thriller.’
      • ‘Mann proved himself adept crossing genres from comedies such as Our Man Flint to horror films like Willard.’
      • ‘On more than one occasion in the past, a low budget horror film has had a lasting influence on the genre's future.’
      • ‘He admits to thriving on a variety of projects that have covered several genres including period dramas, horror, comedy and science fiction.’
      • ‘The science fiction and horror genres have often served as mirrors of the troubles and fears of the time.’
      • ‘I'd like to see sex comedies with sex, horror films without irony and political dramas that really appreciate where we are these days.’
      • ‘After Frankenstein, the gentle, soft-spoken Karloff would star in horror films, and precious little else.’
      • ‘Let's hope not, as it has the potential to be a wonderful mixture of film noir and horror.’
      • ‘To me it was a great genre show that made horror and science fiction funny, smart, and eminently entertaining.’
      • ‘This is also one reason why I remain so steadfastly resolute about concentrating on fantasy, science fiction and horror film.’
      • ‘Cheap laughs were hard to come by, and the crashing economy seemed to be turning all Hong Kong films into horror movies.’
      • ‘The Curse of Frankenstein was also the first horror film to feature Cushing and Christopher Lee together.’
      • ‘Marty was one of the lucky few to portray both a ghoul and a biker in that legendary horror film.’
      • ‘However, I'm encouraged by the emergence of a new genre of quieter, less gory horror films in the early years of the new century.’
      • ‘The work was a breakthrough, spawning the birth of two literary genres: science-fiction and horror fiction.’
      • ‘Their light-hearted take on horror belies the genuine fear Reinblatt felt wrestling with the writing of the play.’
      • ‘Fantasy, science fiction, and horror filmmakers have been widely influenced by the Quatermass stories.’
      • ‘Unlike many horror films, this story is given time to breathe and develop.’
      • ‘He has composed for a variety of genres but science fiction, horror and fantasy stories dominate his filmography.’
    3. 1.3 Intense dismay.
      ‘to her horror she found that a thief had stolen the machine’
      • ‘Obviously I am not speechless like Frank but it is very difficult to voice my indignation and horror that this should be allowed.’
      • ‘Both Harold and Vita viewed the rise of socialism with horror and dismay.’
      • ‘It was with shock and horror that I opened the newspaper a few weeks ago, to learn that polyphonic ringtones are now outselling pop singles by a significant margin.’
      • ‘To my dismay and horror, he ripped the sweater apart in order to better access to my chest.’
      • ‘After graduating, he decides to become a complete conformist in order to deflect any future criticism, much to the horror of his artsy parents.’
      • ‘Given their strong showing in the early rounds of the Celtic League, there is shock and horror in the valleys at the performances of the Welsh sides in the Heineken Cup.’
      • ‘The revelation, which is bound to damage relations between Britain and Australia, was greeted with widespread shock and horror yesterday.’
      • ‘Apparently - shock, horror - Britain isn't actually that baby-friendly.’
      • ‘To his consternation, then horror, he discovers he can't remember his name.’
      • ‘Schröder's announcement of an early election unleashed a wave of horror, dismay and rebellion in the ranks of the Greens.’
      • ‘Much to everyone's surprise, his government then - shock, horror - actually did what it said it was going to.’
      • ‘Much to my horror and chagrin, I had neglected to follow this instruction, and before long found myself with a radio in my hotel room.’
      • ‘We don't need the actresses of this world to tell us that beauty is only skin-deep or that, shock, horror, the ageing process is irreversible.’
      • ‘Imagine my horror and dismay when upon arriving at home and inserting batteries into it, it refused to work!’
      • ‘To my shock and horror I may have to actually act on that as I've found a college in easy walking distance is actually offering classes which I can easily afford and they'll be on my day off as well.’
      dismay, consternation, perturbation, alarm, distress
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    4. 1.4horrorshumorous as exclamation Used to express dismay.
      ‘horrors, two buttons were missing!’
      • ‘But after a solid 10 days of growth, my chin was on the verge of breaking into - horrors!’
      • ‘That would be a little like a Survivor Magazine Show - horrors!’
      • ‘Might Jordan and Delia's compatibility be based on - 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!’
      • ‘Cuba Gooding, Jr. plays a straight dude who inadvertently gets booked on a gay cruise ship - horrors!’
      • ‘An awful lot of great student bloggers are going to - horrors!’
    5. 1.5in singular Intense dislike.
      ‘many have a horror of consulting a dictionary’
      • ‘Death is the last enemy, that haggard person that comes ever nearer and nearer, and we have a horror of it.’
      • ‘Newman had a horror of ‘picture-making,’ almost a wish to transcend his medium.’
      • ‘I always kept well away from their end of the paddock as I had a horror of a break-out.’
      • ‘The crime writer had a horror of the press, and she would always attempt to travel incognito, choosing places where she was unlikely to be recognised.’
      • ‘I really don't like this method since I have a horror of one of the dummy rounds getting mixed up with my hunting ammunition.’
      • ‘We discovered that we all had a horror of wasting food, and would finish a dish rather than throw it in the bin.’
      • ‘They were the work of a determined minority of clergy and liturgists who had a horror of anything smacking of the transcendent.’
      • ‘The first generation of converts have a horror of much that is associated with their culture.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Medieval people had a horror of treachery and cowardice; the two were often felt to go hand in hand.’
      • ‘She would make a display of hating books, which she didn't, but that would give him a horror of her, perhaps.’
      • ‘But Shakespeare did have a horror of social breakdown.’
      • ‘Ruggles also exhibits a horror of repeating himself, something Ives apparently didn't mind.’
      • ‘Paterson, a musician and a poet, confesses to a horror of poems set to music.’
      • ‘In part, a horror of my own past position has made me moderate and democractically-minded.’
      • ‘I have a horror of finding myself trapped, which usually asserts itself as an almost visceral desire to leave meetings early.’
      • ‘Despite being constantly pursued by tallymen, clothing-club collectors and the like, our parents had a horror of real debt.’
      • ‘Hampshire had a horror of the moral certainties of Left and Right from his time in British intelligence during the Second World War.’
      • ‘In France, in Germany, even in Britain, the polls show a horror of war - especially if not authorised by the UN.’
      • ‘This goes beyond making small talk with strangers, although I have a horror of that.’
      hate, detest, loathe, greatly dislike, have a strong aversion to, abhor, abominate, be unable to bear, be unable to stand
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    6. 1.6the horrors An attack of extreme nervousness or anxiety.
      ‘the mere thought of it gives me the horrors’
  • 2informal A bad or mischievous person, especially a child.

    ‘that little horror Zach was around’
    • ‘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, scamp
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Origin

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

Pronunciation

horror

/ˈhɔrər//ˈhôrər/