American English

Definition of panic noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    [uncountable, countable, usually singular]
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  1. 1a sudden feeling of great fear that cannot be controlled and prevents you from thinking clearly a moment of panic They were in a state of panic. Office workers fled in panic as the fire took hold. There's no point getting into a panic about the exams. a panic attack (= a condition in which you suddenly feel very anxious, causing your heart to beat faster, etc.) a panic decision (= one that is made when you are in a state of panic ) A look of panic crossed his face. The mere thought of flying fills me with panic. Thesaurusfearterror panic alarm frightThese are all words for the bad feeling you have when you are afraid.fear the bad feeling that you have when you are in danger, when something bad might happen, or when a particular thing frightens you:(a) fear of flying She showed no fear.terror a feeling of extreme fear:His eyes were wild with terror.panic a sudden feeling of great fear that cannot be controlled and prevents you from thinking clearly:I had a sudden moment of panic.alarm fear or worry that someone feels when something dangerous or unpleasant might happen:The doctor said there was no cause for alarm.fright a feeling of fear, usually sudden:I cried out in fright.fear or fright?Fright is a reaction to something that has just happened or is happening now. Use fear, but not fright, to talk about things that always frighten you and things that may happen in the future:I have a fright of spiders. his fright of what might happenPatterns a fear/terror of something in fear/terror/panic/alarm/fright fear/terror/panic/alarm that… to be filled with fear/terror/panic/alarm a feeling of fear/terror/panic/alarm
  2. 2a situation in which people are made to feel very anxious, causing them to act quickly and without thinking carefully News of the losses caused (a) panic among investors. Careful planning at this stage will help to avoid a last-minute panic. There's no panic (= we do not need to rush), we've got plenty of time. panic buying/selling (= the act of buying/selling things quickly and without thinking carefully because you are afraid that a particular situation will become worse)
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: panic