What does nightmare mean?

Definitions for nightmare

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word nightmare.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. nightmare, incubus(noun)

    a situation resembling a terrifying dream

  2. nightmare(noun)

    a terrifying or deeply upsetting dream


  1. Nightmare(n.)

    A trerrifying or oppressive dream characterized by a sense of helplessness in the face of danger, extreme uneasiness or discomfort (as of weight on the chest or stomach, impossibility of motion or speech, etc.) or extreme anxiety, from which one wakes in a troubled state of mind.

    Etymology: [Night + mare incubus. See Mare incubus.]

  2. Nightmare(n.)

    Hence: Any overwhelming, oppressive, or terrifying experience resembling a nightmare especially in the inability to escape from an unpleasant situation.

    Etymology: [Night + mare incubus. See Mare incubus.]


  1. nightmare(Noun)

    A female demon or monster, thought to plague people while they slept and cause a feeling of suffocation and terror during sleep.

    Etymology: From night + mare.

  2. nightmare(Noun)

    A very bad or frightening dream.

    I had a nightmare that I tried to run but could neither move nor breathe.

    Etymology: From night + mare.

  3. nightmare(Noun)

    Any bad, miserable, difficult or terrifying situation or experience that arouses anxiety, terror, agony or great displeasure.

    Cleaning up after identity theft can be a nightmare of phone calls and letters.

    Etymology: From night + mare.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Nightmare(noun)

    a fiend or incubus formerly supposed to cause trouble in sleep

    Etymology: [Night + mare incubus. See Mare incubus.]

  2. Nightmare(noun)

    a condition in sleep usually caused by improper eating or by digestive or nervous troubles, and characterized by a sense of extreme uneasiness or discomfort (as of weight on the chest or stomach, impossibility of motion or speech, etc.), or by frightful or oppressive dreams, from which one wakes after extreme anxiety, in a troubled state of mind; incubus

    Etymology: [Night + mare incubus. See Mare incubus.]

  3. Nightmare(noun)

    hence, any overwhelming, oppressive, or stupefying influence

    Etymology: [Night + mare incubus. See Mare incubus.]


  1. Nightmare

    A nightmare is an unpleasant dream that can cause a strong emotional response from the mind, typically fear or horror, but also despair, anxiety and great sadness. The dream may contain situations of danger, discomfort, psychological or physical terror. Sufferers usually awaken in a state of distress and may be unable to return to sleep for a prolonged period of time. Nightmares can have physical causes such as sleeping in an uncomfortable or awkward position, having a fever, or psychological causes such as stress, anxiety, and ingestion of opioid drugs used in pain killers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. Eating before going to sleep, which triggers an increase in the body's metabolism and brain activity, is a potential stimulus for nightmares. Recurrent nightmares that can interfere with sleeping patterns and cause insomnia may require medical help.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Nightmare

    nīt′mār, n. a dreadful dream accompanied with pressure on the breast, and a feeling of powerlessness to move or speak—personified as an incubus or evil-spirit.—adj. Night′marish. [A.S. niht, night, mara, a nightmare; cf. Old High Ger. mara, incubus, Ice. mara, nightmare.]

Suggested Resources

  1. nightmare

    Song lyrics by nightmare -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by nightmare on the Lyrics.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'nightmare' in Nouns Frequency: #2034

How to pronounce nightmare?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say nightmare in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of nightmare in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of nightmare in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of nightmare in a Sentence

  1. Kate Kilpatrick:

    It was so terrifying because this is my first earthquake. I thought it was a nightmare because I was so confused. The whole world was aggressively shaking.

  2. Dale Bumpers:

    The American people are now and for some time have been asking to be allowed a good night's sleep, they're asking for an end to this nightmare. It is a legitimate request.

  3. William S. Gilbert:

    Love, unrequited, robs me of my rest Love, hopeless love, my ardent soul encumbers Love, nightmare-like, lies heavy on my chest, And weaves itself into my midnight slumbers

  4. Niels Frenzen:

    We've got to be looking at a program that brings in hundreds of thousands of people, these camps become independent enclaves, and security issues are a nightmare.

  5. Daniela Tejada:

    The The UAE authorities should feel ashamed for such an obvious injustice. I am very scared for Matt. I don't know where they are taking him or what will happen now. Our nightmare has gotten even worse.

Images & Illustrations of nightmare

  1. nightmarenightmarenightmarenightmarenightmare

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for nightmare

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for nightmare »


Find a translation for the nightmare definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these nightmare definitions with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


    "nightmare." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 13 Jun 2021. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/nightmare>.

    Are we missing a good definition for nightmare? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Browse Definitions.net

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


    Are you a words master?

    regarding something abstract as a material thing
    • A. jocularity
    • B. hypostatization
    • C. confrere
    • D. substrate

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for nightmare: