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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

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 ?
The Pakistan film industry had seen some horror movies during its peak days but after the revival of Pakistani cinema, only one horror movie, Siyyah was produced in Islamabad.
Horror fans everywhere appreciate the weekly new movie releases and all you can kill menu from Screambox.
Reyes points out: 'Filipinos are not the only ones addicted to the horror genre.
IT MAY be one of the most beautiful buildings in the city but, around Hallowe'en, St George's Hall is transformed into the Chamber of Horrors.
Treehouse of Horror II" (Season 3): "Lisa's Nightmare," "Bart's Nightmare," "Homer's Nightmare"
The seventh season of the show, entitled American Horror Story: Cult , is boasting a brand new trailer, its stars Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters having very different reactions to the rise of President Trump.
Horror film scholarship is one of the liveliest niches in academic research.
Towlson presents readers with a comprehensive examination of horror films made in between 1930 and 1936, focusing on their use of happy endings and their correlation to more contemporary horror films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Hostel.
Established in 2009, I Like Horror Movies has been dedicated to preserving the public's interest in cult and obscure films for the better part of the decade.
The academy will be specifi-cally focused on horror films and students given a crash course in the history of the genre, from the days of silent cinema to current blockbusters, to help shape their movies.
The academy will be specifically focused on horror films and students will be given a crash course in the history of the genre from the days of silent cinema to current blockbusters to help shape their movie.
In spite of all odds and malicious interpretations, the horror (also called "weird" or "spectrally macabre" by Lovecraft) tale has survived and developed because it
Noteworthy as the first critical study of Spanish horror film published in English, Antonio Lazaro-Reboll's Spanish Horror Film covers the mid-twentieth-century emergence of the genre through the success of recent international blockbusters such as Alejandro Amenabars Los otros/The Others, Jaume Balaguero's Los sin nombre/The Nameless and Juan Antonio Bayona's debut film, El orfanato/The Orphanage, whose "patron" (199) was none other than Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro.
Transnational horror across visual media; fragmented bodies.