What does nightmare mean?

Definitions for nightmare

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. nightmare, incubusnoun

    a situation resembling a terrifying dream

  2. nightmarenoun

    a terrifying or deeply upsetting dream


  1. Nightmarenoun

    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.

  2. Nightmarenoun

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


  1. nightmarenoun

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

  2. nightmarenoun

    A very bad or frightening dream.

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

  3. nightmarenoun

    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.

  4. Etymology: From night + mare.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Nightmarenoun

    a fiend or incubus formerly supposed to cause trouble in sleep

  2. Nightmarenoun

    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

  3. Nightmarenoun

    hence, any overwhelming, oppressive, or stupefying influence

  4. 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.

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British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

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

How to pronounce nightmare?

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. Martha Hughes:

    When she took the medication, she started having a hard time breathing, and she told her mom that her lips were burning, her throat, her eyes, they got so red that she couldn't talk. So she rushed her to the ER, and that's when they diagnosed her with the disease. And from there it has just spiraled to a nightmare.

  2. Colin Wayne/Integrity Driven -RRB-:

    If a veteran returning home from a combat zone needs to see someone for PTSD help, they may not be around in [two to three]months when they can finally get an appointment. With an average of 22 veteran suicides per day, there is a sense of urgency. The VA is an absolute nightmare and I would contest that most veterans would agree with that statement.

  3. Mohsen Dadpeynia:

    After my daughter moved to Italy in 2013, it was a nightmare to send her money. I had to find trustworthy black market dealers to transfer money.

  4. Iman Chamoun:

    They took everything, the house, furniture, they even took the doors. The work of 25 years was lost in one minute... It's like living a dream, a nightmare.

  5. Michael Kugelman:

    This ISIS-Taliban joint attack represents a nightmare scenario come true. The Taliban and ISIS are widely understood to be foes, not friends, because of the Taliban’s close alliance with Al Qaeda — a bitter rival of ISIS. And yet Islamist terror groups in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region are all cut from the same basic ideological cloth.

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Translations for nightmare

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    a convex shape that narrows toward a point
    • A. taper
    • B. mealie
    • C. foumart
    • D. anestrus

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