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horror show

1. Literally, a (potentially frightening) film or television show with supernatural and/or macabre elements. I can't watch these horror shows before bed, they give me nightmares.
2. Something disastrous, disorganized, or otherwise unpleasant, often said with a note of dismay or disdain. Oh boy, that performance was a real horror show. How many people were actually singing the same thing at the same time? I can't have anyone come over right now—I just got back from a business trip, and my house is a horror show!
See also: horror, show

little horror

A poorly behaved child. I regret offering to babysit—her child is such a little horror!
See also: horror, little

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

throw up (one's) hands

To submit or give up. I'm ready to throw up my hands after trying to train this unruly puppy. Don't just throw up your hands—keep trying.
See also: hand, throw, up

horror of horrors

A phrase used to humorously indicate something very mundane that has or could cause panic, anger, controversy, or any such adverse reaction. In writing, the phrase is usually set apart by parentheses or dashes just before the thing it indicates. People are so obsessed with their phones these days that they panic if theirs is running low on battery or—horror of horrors—they left it at home.
See also: horror, of

shock horror

Ironically used to indicate that something is not surprising or horrific in the slighted. The CEO's comments about women being better suited to raising children has led to—shock horror—a huge and scathing backlash against him across the internet. Shock horror, my kids weren't too keen to try my new kale and broccoli casserole.
See also: horror, shock

throw up (one's) hands in horror

To indicate one's unwilling and horrified submission to or acceptance of something. We threw up our hands in horror after they told us that our appointment had been rescheduled again for a third time. All you can do is throw your arms up in horror at the way the government is being run these days.
See also: hand, horror, throw, up

throw up (one's) hands in despair

To indicate one's unwilling and despairing submission to or acceptance of something. We threw up our hands in despair after they told us that our appointment had been rescheduled again for a third time. All you can do is throw your arms up in despair at the way the government is being run these days.
See also: despair, hand, throw, up


slang Another name for delirium tremens (a state of physical distress due to alcohol withdrawal, especially after chronic or heavy use). If Pop just stops drinking without being monitored by doctors, he might develop the horrors.
See also: horror

in horror

With great displeasure, fear, and/or surprise. Mom reacted in horror when she saw that I'd dyed my hair hot pink the night before school picture day. My bridesmaids looked at me in horror when they saw the dresses I'd picked out for them—as a joke.
See also: horror

in horror

with intense shock or disgust. Mike stepped back from the rattlesnake in horror. The jogger recoiled in horror when she came upon a body in the park.
See also: horror

throw one's hands up in horror

Fig. to be shocked and horrified. When Bill heard the bad news, he threw his hands up in horror. I could do no more. I had seen more than I could stand. I just threw up my hands in horror and screamed.
See also: hand, horror, throw, up


shock horror

People say shock horror to show that they are aware that people might be shocked or surprised by something they say. I felt intellectually superior despite — shock horror — my lack of qualifications. I even, shock horror, like the smell of fresh sweat on a woman. Note: This expression is used humorously.
See also: horror, shock

shock horror

used as an ironically exaggerated reaction to something shocking.
The expression encapsulates the hyperbole of newspaper headlines, especially those in tabloid papers.
2003 Film Inside Out She encourages one of the girls to consider a career in law—shock horror! – rather than deny her intellect and settle for homemaking.
See also: horror, shock

throw up your hands/arms in deˈspair, ˈhorror, etc.

(often humorous) show that you disagree strongly with something, or are very worried about something: When she said she wanted to get a motorbike, her parents threw up their hands in horror.
See also: arm, hand, throw, up

ˌhorror of ˈhorrors

(British English, humorous or ironic) used to emphasize how bad a situation is: I stood up to speak and — horror of horrors — realized I had left my notes behind.
See also: horror, of

ˌshock ˈhorror

(British English, informal, often humorous) used when you pretend to be shocked by something that is not really very serious or surprising: Shock horror! You’re actually on time for once!
See also: horror, shock


1. n. the delirium tremens. The old wino had the horrors all the time.
2. n. frightening hallucinations from drugs. (Drugs.) Once he had gone through the horrors, he swore off for good.
See also: horror
References in periodicals archive ?
Horror productions in the Arab world and among UAE filmmakers are growing.
Bandish got rave reviews and off-the-chart ratings due to which the director said they decided to give audiences some more horror stories.
Matti shared watching films from the horror genre was one of the reasons why he wanted to make movies ever since.
This classic musical extravaganza will star Blue singer and Hollyoaks actor Duncan James as Frank, and Kristian Lavercombe will be reprising his role as Riff Raff following more than 1,300 performances in The Rocky Horror Show around the world.
Crafted for maximum potency, "Bedtime Horrors" is a smart and quirky update to the horror genre.
Each are part of a genre of "tiny horror" films that have included early schlock works by celebrated directors like James Cameron (Piranha 2: The Spawning), or more renowned horror classics that feature maniacal small children, killer toys and evil diminutive beasties such as Pet Sematary, based on the Stephen King thriller, Gremlins and Child's Play.
"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" doesn't have much to do with Halloween, but it's weird, fun and involves wacky costumes, so it's no surprise that it's a favorite around this time of year.
[USA], Sep 26 (ANI): The Screamfest Horror Film Festival is all set to world premiere its ambassador, Lin Shaye's supernatural horror films, including 'The Final Wish,' and 'Amityville Murders'.
Italian Horror Cinema states in its introduction that it "seeks to make a contribution to the growing body of literature on Italian horror cinema and in so doing further unpick understandings of its often rich and complex history" (9).
Mastering Fear: Women, Emotions, and Contemporary Horror
Horror has emerged as one of the most lucrative and in-demand genres in Hollywood, a box-office success story as well as -- thanks to a new generation of ambitious genre filmmakers -- a creative one.
KARACHI: When the first trailer of Pakistani horror movie Pariwas released, horror-movie fans nationwide were enthralled.The trailer revealed three main characters: a couple with a daughter arriving at a deserted and spooky looking house where demonic and hair-tingling activities start to happen.
In order to understand one's psychological attraction to horror it would be useful to examine what this film genre really entails.
The no- holds-barred horror streaming service is now available to U.S.