terror


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a holy terror

A very troublesome, aggressive, or aggravating person; a person who is exasperatingly difficult in manner or behavior. I know that I was a holy terror when I was young, so I guess it's fitting that my own kids give me so much trouble.
See also: holy, terror

reign of terror

A period of oppression by a hostile ruler. Sometimes used hyperbolically. The people could only tolerate the dictator's reign of terror for so long before they started a revolution. Is mom finished with her reign of terror, or do we have to keep cleaning the house every weekend?
See also: of, reign, terror

blanch with (an emotion)

To become visibly pale as a result of feeling a particular emotion. All of my friends ran into the creepy haunted house, but I blanched with fear when I saw it. Stella blanched with disgust at the plate of cooked ants that had been set before her.
See also: blanch

hold terror for someone

[for something] to be frightening to a person. The thought of flying to Rio by myself held great terror for me. Nothing holds terror for me. I am a daredevil.
See also: hold, terror

holy terror

An exasperating individual, as in He was only five, but he was a holy terror, running wild through the house and throwing whatever he could lay his hands on . The adjective holy here is an intensifier. [Late 1800s]
See also: holy, terror

a reign of terror

COMMON A reign of terror is a period during which there is a lot of violence and killing, especially by people who are in positions of power. The dictator's 17-year reign of terror had ended and the people took to the streets to celebrate their freedom. His victims during a four-month reign of terror included a schoolgirl and a student. Note: The original Reign of Terror was during the French Revolution between April 1793 and July 1794, when many thousands were put to death by the government.
See also: of, reign, terror

king of terrors

death personified.
See also: king, of, terror

strike ˌfear, ˌterror, etc. into somebody/somebody’s ˈheart

(formal) make somebody feel fear, terror, etc: His crimes struck horror into the nation’s heart.
See also: heart, somebody, strike

holy terror

n. a devilish person; a badly behaving child. Why is the boss such a holy terror today?
See also: holy, terror
References in classic literature ?
For one instant the party upon the stairs remained motionless, through extremity of terror and of awe.
He took a step toward one of the exits, and then he halted, wide-eyed in astonishment and terror, for almost at the same instant a dozen doors opened in the courtyard wall and a horde of frightful men rushed in upon him.
Never before had Bertha Kircher been so terrified--never before had she had such cause for terror.
Then he thought of the wormwood tossed by the wind, which he had twice ridden past, and he was seized with such terror that he did not believe in the reality of what was happening to him.
I collided with people, fell down; and all the time I was screaming with terror.
The cub was in a frenzy of terror, yet he lay without movement or sound, frozen, petrified into immobility, to all appearances dead.
Resolved, after passing two nights of terror in the Venetian hotel, never to enter it again, Mrs.
Lions have a superstitious terror of my voice," answered the Cock, proudly.
I suppose I was what a story-writer might call 'frozen with terror.
Nor yet staid the terror there: Infernal ghosts and hellish furies round Environed thee; some howled, some yelled, some shrieked, Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou Sat'st unappalled in calm and sinless peace.
All this he observed with a terror which seemed not incompatible with the fulfillment of a natural expectation.
So absorbed was the ape-man in speculation as to the purpose of the covered pit that he permitted the blacks to depart in the direction of their village without the usual baiting which had rendered him the terror of Mbonga's people and had afforded Tarzan both a vehicle of revenge and a source of inexhaustible delight.
She made some idle remark, looking at me, and laughed lightly enough; but I saw her eyes return to his, involuntarily, as though fascinated; then they fell, but not swiftly enough to veil the rush of terror that filled them.
An' there, across the ring, I could see the Chicago Terror, an' I had to do some thinkin' to remember I was fightin' him.
For what are the comprehensible terrors of man compared with the interlinked terrors and wonders of God