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Saturdays are perfect days for terrifying surprises. Surprise—we’re talking about the vocabulary of fear today!
Does everyone in the world love Halloween, or just everyone we know? People may prioritize feeling safe and secure most of the year, but October has become a celebration of hair-raising, blood-curdling, spine-chilling fun. How much do you know about the words that describe flavors of fear?
appalling derives from the root PALL- meaning pale in words like pallid and pallor.
fearful is most directly connected to the Old English word fær meaning calamity or sudden danger, but actually traces back to the root PER- meaning to try, test, or risk in words like experiment and peril.
frightful likely derives from the Proto-Germanic word furkhtaz meaning afraid.
horrifying comes from the root HORR- meaning to tremble or dread in words like abhor and horrendous (and strangely linked to words related to bristling like gorse, hirsute, and horripilation.)
petrifying, which technically means turning to stone, comes from the root PETR- meaning rock or stone in words like petroleum and petroglyph.
scary can be traced to the Old Norse root skirra meaning to frighten.
spooky has a number of potential sources, most likely the German spuk meaning ghost, apparition, or hobgoblin,
terrifying derives from the root TERR- meaning causing fear, awe, or dread in words like deter and terror.