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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!
A poorly behaved child. I regret offering to babysit—her child is such a little horror!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 under throw up one's hands.
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.
shock horrorused 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.