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Home > Language > Words > Terror and Horror Compared

Difference Between Terror and Horror

Terror vs Horror

Terror and horror are interrelated words in English language that have similar meanings. There are different connotations of the two words that are used in different contexts. There are many who think they are same and use them interchangeably which is incorrect. There are differences that will be discussed in this article to remain any doubts in the minds of the readers.

Terror is the intense fear that we feel in anticipation of something happening whereas horror is the revulsion we feel when it actually happens. Both these emotions have been made great use of by Gothic writers in their plots and novels. Writers create suspense in their stories in a bid to create terror in the minds of the readers. As suspense builds, terror rises in our minds as we are afraid of what is going to happen next. It is when the even does take place, the emotion of terror is changed into horror.

Thus both terror and horror are fear but whereas terror is fear that is taken raw, horror is fear that is digested. Terror is an emotion that you feel when you are great and immediate fear. Terror is provoked by danger and menace, as when you suddenly find yourself in a jungle in front of a tiger. Terror is the feeling that is experienced by people confronted with terrorists. Terror activates the sympathetic nervous system and prepares the body for a fight or flight response. Being terrified is a whole body experience. Being horrified may lead to nausea or revulsion as one might feel when he sees something bizarre and terrifying. We are appalled by what we see like when one sees worms inside wounds of an animal or a person. Horror is an emotional experience that has more to do withy what is happening around us rather than happening to us. Horror is a feeling more likely to be aroused when we are watching horror movies whereas terror relates more to terrorism.

Whenever there is an earthquake or a tsunami, the first feelings are that of fear, the fear of the unknown while horror is a feeling that is aroused when one sees the trail of destruction as an observer. Terror is more realistic in the sense that one feels it inside for something happening to oneself while horror is a feeling of disgust that is more disturbing and psychological in nature. There is a feeling of revulsion that is absent in terror. You could feel horrified when you see a movie in which one is being murdered with a chain saw. On the other hand, terror is the feeling one gets when a person is trying to kill him using a chainsaw.

Terror vs Horror

In brief:

• Both terror and horror are human emotions that evoke different responses

• Terror relates with extreme fear and anxiety whereas horror relates more with revulsion.

• You feel horrified when you something very disturbing or unpleasing

• You feel terrified when under an imminent danger


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