Top 23 Slang For Terrifying – Meaning & Usage

When it comes to things that send chills down your spine, having the right words to describe them can make all the difference. We’ve scoured the depths of slang to bring you a list of the most spine-chilling, hair-raising, and downright terrifying terms out there. Get ready to up your scare game and add some bone-chilling vocabulary to your arsenal with our curated collection of slang for terrifying.

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1. Give one the willies

This phrase is used to describe something that is so frightening or creepy that it gives someone a feeling of unease or discomfort.

  • For example, “That horror movie gave me the willies. I couldn’t sleep for days.”
  • A person might say, “Walking through a dark, abandoned house gives me the willies.”
  • Another person might comment, “The way that doll’s eyes follow you is enough to give anyone the willies.”

2. Scary as hell

This phrase is used to emphasize that something is extremely terrifying or scary.

  • For instance, “That haunted house was scary as hell. I screamed the entire time.”
  • A person might say, “I watched a scary movie last night and it was scary as hell.”
  • Another person might comment, “The sound of footsteps in an empty house is scary as hell.”

3. Terrify the living daylights out of

This phrase is used to describe something that causes extreme fear or terror in someone.

  • For example, “The roller coaster terrified the living daylights out of me. I thought I was going to fall out.”
  • A person might say, “That horror movie scene terrified the living daylights out of me. I had nightmares for weeks.”
  • Another person might comment, “The sound of thunder and lightning terrifies the living daylights out of my dog.”

4. Petrified

This word is used to describe someone who is so scared that they are unable to move or react.

  • For instance, “I was petrified when I saw a snake in my backyard. I couldn’t move.”
  • A person might say, “Walking alone in a dark alley at night petrifies me.”
  • Another person might comment, “The thought of public speaking petrifies me.”

5. Spooky

This word is used to describe something that is eerie, unsettling, or gives a sense of unease or fear.

  • For example, “That abandoned house is really spooky. I heard strange noises coming from inside.”
  • A person might say, “I don’t like walking through the cemetery at night, it’s too spooky.”
  • Another person might comment, “The sound of footsteps in an empty hallway is always spooky.”

6. Eerie

Refers to something that creates a feeling of unease or creepiness. It often describes a situation or atmosphere that is mysterious or unsettling.

  • For example, “Walking through the abandoned house at night was an eerie experience.”
  • A person might say, “The eerie silence in the forest gave me chills.”
  • A horror movie might be described as, “The eerie music and dim lighting set the perfect tone for the terrifying scenes.”

7. Chilling

Describes something that causes a feeling of fear or unease. It often refers to a situation, story, or image that is deeply unsettling.

  • For instance, “The chilling screams echoed through the empty hallway.”
  • A person might say, “The documentary about the serial killer was absolutely chilling.”
  • A book might be described as, “The chilling plot kept me on the edge of my seat.”

8. Frightening as heck

A colloquial expression used to emphasize how terrifying something is. It conveys a sense of extreme fear or dread.

  • For example, “That haunted house was frightening as heck, I couldn’t sleep for days.”
  • A person might say, “I watched a horror movie last night, and it was frightening as heck.”
  • A scary roller coaster might be described as, “The drops and twists were frightening as heck.”

9. Freaky

Describes something that is strange, unsettling, or out of the ordinary. It often refers to a situation or experience that is unsettling or gives a sense of unease.

  • For instance, “I had a freaky dream last night, it felt so real.”
  • A person might say, “The abandoned amusement park had a really freaky atmosphere.”
  • A supernatural occurrence might be described as, “The ghostly figure was really freaky.”

10. Bloodcurdling

Describes something that is so terrifying it sends shivers down one’s spine. It often refers to a sound, scream, or image that is extremely frightening.

  • For example, “The bloodcurdling scream echoed through the dark alley.”
  • A person might say, “The horror movie had several bloodcurdling moments.”
  • A haunted house attraction might be described as, “The bloodcurdling scares made it an unforgettable experience.”

11. Gut-wrenching

This term is used to describe something that causes intense emotional or physical discomfort. It often refers to situations or experiences that are deeply unsettling or disturbing.

  • For example, a person might say, “The movie’s graphic violence was gut-wrenching.”
  • In a discussion about personal experiences, someone might share, “I had a gut-wrenching encounter with a wild animal.”
  • A reviewer might describe a book as, “A gut-wrenching exploration of grief and loss.”

12. Dreadful

This word is used to describe something that is extremely unpleasant, shocking, or terrifying. It conveys a sense of intense fear or apprehension.

  • For instance, a person might say, “The storm last night was absolutely dreadful.”
  • In a conversation about a scary movie, someone might comment, “The special effects were so realistic, it was dreadful.”
  • A person might describe a nightmare as, “I had a dreadful dream last night.”

13. Terrifying

This term is used to describe something that is extremely frightening or alarming. It conveys a sense of intense fear or terror.

  • For example, a person might say, “The haunted house was absolutely terrifying.”
  • In a discussion about phobias, someone might share, “Spiders are my most terrifying fear.”
  • A person might describe a near-death experience as, “It was the most terrifying moment of my life.”

14. Scary

This word is used to describe something that is frightening or alarming. It conveys a sense of fear or unease, but may not be as intense as other words on this list.

  • For instance, a person might say, “I watched a scary movie last night.”
  • In a conversation about a roller coaster, someone might comment, “The drop was so scary!”
  • A person might describe a haunted house as, “It’s supposed to be really scary.”

15. Horrifying

This term is used to describe something that is extremely shocking, disturbing, or terrifying. It conveys a sense of intense horror or revulsion.

  • For example, a person might say, “The crime scene was absolutely horrifying.”
  • In a discussion about true crime, someone might share, “I read a horrifying article about serial killers.”
  • A person might describe a graphic scene in a movie as, “It was too horrifying to watch.”

16. Panic-inducing

This term describes something that elicits a strong sense of fear or panic in people.

  • For example, “The horror movie was so panic-inducing that I had to cover my eyes.”
  • A person might describe a haunted house as “truly panic-inducing.”
  • In a discussion about phobias, someone might say, “Spiders are panic-inducing for me.”

17. Creepy

This word is used to describe something that gives off a sense of unease or creepiness.

  • For instance, “The abandoned house had a creepy atmosphere.”
  • A person might say, “I don’t like dolls, they’re so creepy.”
  • In a conversation about horror movies, someone might mention, “The villain’s mask was really creepy.”

18. Frightening

This term is used to describe something that instills fear or terror in people.

  • For example, “The loud noise was frightening.”
  • A person might say, “I find roller coasters to be frightening.”
  • In a discussion about nightmares, someone might say, “I had a really frightening dream last night.”

19. Menacing

This word describes something that appears threatening or dangerous.

  • For instance, “The dark alley looked menacing.”
  • A person might say, “The aggressive dog had a menacing growl.”
  • In a conversation about crime, someone might mention, “The suspect had a menacing demeanor.”

20. Macabre

This term refers to something that is disturbingly gruesome or horrifying.

  • For example, “The macabre artwork depicted scenes of death and decay.”
  • A person might say, “I have a fascination with macabre literature.”
  • In a discussion about horror films, someone might mention, “The movie had a macabre atmosphere.”

21. Shocking

Something that causes a strong emotional reaction due to its extreme or unexpected nature.

  • For example, “The news of the plane crash was shocking.”
  • A person might describe a horror movie as “shocking” if it contains graphic and disturbing scenes.
  • A shocking twist in a book or TV show can leave the audience speechless.
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22. Ghoulish

Relating to death or the supernatural, often in a creepy or disturbing way.

  • For instance, “The haunted house was filled with ghoulish decorations and eerie sounds.”
  • A person might describe a horror-themed costume as “ghoulish” if it involves dressing up as a zombie or other undead creature.
  • A Halloween party with a spooky atmosphere and creepy decorations can be described as “ghoulish.”

23. Unnerving

Causing feelings of anxiety, unease, or discomfort.

  • For example, “The sound of footsteps in an empty house can be unnerving.”
  • A person might describe a horror movie as “unnerving” if it consistently creates a sense of tension and suspense.
  • Walking alone in a dark alley can be an unnerving experience, especially if there are strange noises or shadows.