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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a nightmare scenario (=a very bad thing that might happen)
▪ The nightmare scenario would be a number of simultaneous terrorist attacks.
recurring dream/nightmare
▪ In reality it would be an administrative nightmare.
▪ The hon. Gentleman is determined, as ever, to see administrative nightmares where none exists.
▪ This is a macabre impersonation of a white racist's worst nightmare or crowd-baiting at its most mindless.
▪ We thought maybe our worst nightmare came true.
▪ Few suffer the agony of Johanna Young's parents and find that their worst nightmare has become a reality.
▪ He is your worst corporate nightmare: the Vampire Presenter.
▪ It was an engineer's worst nightmare.
▪ They eventually suffered from an embarrassment of riches: they laughingly killed all their enemies and created their worst nightmare.
▪ The Halloween night fight at London's Earls Court was hyped as the worst nightmare for one of the boxers.
▪ The scene he saw there confirmed his worst nightmares.
▪ It must be said, however, that this is a nightmare scenario which the Government does not subscribe to.
▪ Keith says this match was a nightmare scenario and Gloucester are in trouble.
▪ However, Bland's nightmare vision had a powerful effect on the government's thinking and on public opinion.
▪ It was sold as the fulfilment of a dream but it became a nightmare for many.
▪ So many different police departments were involved that protecting the president at times became a logistical nightmare.
▪ All she could recall with any certainty was the tender, soothing voice in a dream that was rapidly becoming a nightmare.
▪ But it became a real nightmare of conflicting noises a little later on.
▪ Cracking up ... the dream home that's become a couple's nightmare.
▪ The administrative backlogs and incompetence at certain licensed dealers became a nightmare for clients.
▪ And for these people the problem can become a nightmare.
▪ What if our dreams become nightmare, our plans crumble to dust?
▪ Harvey creates a credible nightmare and turns what at first seems a simple eco-sermon into something more weirdly compelling.
▪ By virtue of its high profile, Magellan created a public relations nightmare for Fidelity.
▪ Each one created its own nightmare.
▪ They eventually suffered from an embarrassment of riches: they laughingly killed all their enemies and created their worst nightmare.
▪ They all had a bounden responsibility to start negotiations to end the nightmare.
▪ The parents face a nightmare week-long wait before blood tests show if there has been a hospital blunder.
▪ Perhaps he should let her go; perhaps he should finally face the nightmare.
▪ Then they faced an admen's nightmare as one by one their heroes failed.
▪ She sat down on a very solid patio chair and knew she was living a nightmare.
▪ Computerized Hollywood is giving the world new ways to dream, or perchance to live through waking nightmares.
▪ She waited and waited, the feeling of living a nightmare that had been with her ever since Thursday intensifying.
▪ I still shudder recalling the recurring nightmare of Tuesdays, when we went to the art house to lay out the paper.
▪ Craig's father Robert says his son is still suffering from nightmares, and has to see a psychiatrist weekly for counselling.
▪ I have great sympathy for people who are suffering through private nightmares of hopelessness and loss.
▪ Father-of-two Mr Weddle's former wife, Jacqueline Dearden, 41, has suffered nightmares since the tragedy.
▪ For many months afterwards, Cissie had suffered awful nightmares, when she would scream for her mam.
▪ Pat Hurley suffered terrible nightmares and considered suicide.
▪ William suffered greatly from nightmares as a child.
▪ But the vision is turning into a political nightmare.
▪ He and his cloned cohorts kidnap children to steal their dreams, which turn into nightmares.
▪ Richard could be turning his nightmares to profits, but his dad thinks they may have thrown away a fortune already.
▪ But his housewarming party turns into a nightmare when his co-workers shed their inhibitions and become unruly.
▪ At the election it will undoubtedly turn into a nightmare for them.
▪ For a fleeting second he wondered if he might be dreaming, but this time he had woken into a nightmare.
▪ Computerized Hollywood is giving the world new ways to dream, or perchance to live through waking nightmares.
▪ She keeps circling between past and present, memory and oblivion, like some one trying to wake up from a nightmare.
▪ An oil spill on this part of the coast is the conservationists' nightmare scenario.
▪ As the ship went down, people were rushing around in the dark screaming and yelling. It was an absolute nightmare.
▪ During the trial, she had nightmares.
▪ He woke from a nightmare, trembling with fear.
▪ Highway 17 is a commuter nightmare.
▪ It was a nightmare driving home in the snow.
▪ Starting school can be a nightmare for some children.
▪ The couple's honeymoon turned into a nightmare when Martin suddenly became very ill.
▪ The hostages described life in the prison camp as a nightmare of fear and uncertainty.
▪ Thousands of commuters faced a nightmare journey to work because of the strikes.
▪ We were stuck in a traffic jam for about four hours - it was a nightmare.
▪ Years after the accident I still have nightmares about it.
▪ He came awake suddenly, feeling frightened, as if he had had a nightmare.
▪ In the early hours of the morning, at about three, Stephen jerked awake from a nightmare.
▪ Still, Streep and Neeson are wonderful to watch as they show us how easily normality can slip into a nightmare.
▪ The man looked like something from a bad nightmare.
▪ There is a difference between a bad dream and a nightmare.
▪ There were lots of posters and stuffed animals but all of them had a nightmare quality.
▪ Visions or nightmares for others, but for him daylight events, in full consciousness.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Nightmare \Night"mare`\ (n[imac]t"m[^a]r`), n. [Night + mare incubus. See Mare incubus.]

  1. A fiend or incubus formerly supposed to cause trouble in sleep. [archaic]

  2. 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.

  3. Hence: Any overwhelming, oppressive, or terrifying experience resembling a nightmare[2] especially in the inability to escape from an unpleasant situation.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 13c., "an evil female spirit afflicting sleepers with a feeling of suffocation," compounded from night + mare (3) "goblin that causes nightmares, incubus." Meaning shifted mid-16c. from the incubus to the suffocating sensation it causes. Sense of "any bad dream" first recorded 1829; that of "very distressing experience" is from 1831. Cognate with Middle Dutch nachtmare, German Nachtmahr.


n. 1 (context now rare English) A female demon or monster, thought to plague people while they slept and cause a feeling of suffocation and terror during sleep. 2 A very bad or frightening dream. 3 (context figuratively English) Any bad, miserable, difficult or terrifying situation or experience that arouses anxiety, terror, agony or great displeasure.

  1. n. a situation resembling a terrifying dream [syn: incubus]

  2. a terrifying or deeply upsetting dream


A nightmare, also called a bad dream, is an unpleasant dream that can cause a strong emotional response from the mind, typically fear but also despair, anxiety and great sadness. The dream may contain situations of discomfort, psychological or physical terror. Sufferers often awaken in a state of distress and may be unable to return to sleep for a small period.

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 as a side effect of various drugs. 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 may require medical help, as they can interfere with sleeping patterns and cause insomnia.

Nightmare (disambiguation)

A nightmare is a frightening dream.

Nightmare(s) or The Nightmare may also refer to:

Nightmare (Soulcalibur)

is a fictional character in the Soul series of fighting games. The evil alter-ego of , he later becomes an entity separated from Siegfried in Soulcalibur III onward and Nightmare is the living incarnation of Soul Edge/Inferno.

Nightmare first appeared in one of the possible endings for the Siegfried character in the game Soul Edge. In the sequel Soulcalibur, he was given a name and featured as a central character. Ever since then, Nightmare has been the main antagonist and owner of the powerful evil sword Soul Edge, and thus the objective of most other characters in the story. Appearing in every game of the series, Nightmare has served as a recurring antagonist in contrast to the protagonist role played by Siegfried, as well as serving as Siegfried's archenemy until Soul Calibur V where a new Nightmare was there. Nightmare has appeared in all the sequels to Soulcalibur, visually different for each game. His fighting style was altered from Soulcalibur II to Soulcalibur III because Siegfried was now a distinct character in terms of both gameplay and story.

Nightmare (1956 film)

Nightmare is a 1956 psychological thriller film noir starring Edward G. Robinson

The story is based on a novel by William Irish (aka Cornell Woolrich). The book also became a 1947 film, Fear in the Night.

Nightmare (1964 film)

Nightmare is a 1964 horror/suspense film from Hammer Films. The film was directed by Freddie Francis and written by Hammer Films regular Jimmy Sangster. The British Film Institute has the only 35mm print in the UK.

Nightmare (Marvel Comics)

Nightmare is a fictional character, a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is depicted most commonly as one of Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider's major enemies.

Nightmare (1963 The Outer Limits)

"Nightmare" is an episode of the original The Outer Limits television show. It first aired on 2 December 1963, during the first season.

Nightmare (Japanese band)

is a Japanese visual kei rock band from Sendai. Formed on January 1, 2000, it has consisted of Yomi ( lead vocals), Sakito ( lead guitar & backing vocals), Hitsugi ( rhythm guitar), Ni~ya ( bass & backing vocals) and Ruka ( drums & percussion) for the majority of their career. They enjoyed mainstream success with the inclusion of their songs "The World" and "Alumina" in the Death Note anime and are considered a major act in the visual kei scene.

Nightmare (Dungeons & Dragons)

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the nightmare is an outsider that comes from the Gray Waste of Hades.

Nightmare (2000 film)

Nightmare (; lit. "Scissors", also known as Horror Game Movie) is a South Korean horror film, released in 2000. It stars Kim Gyu-ri, Ha Ji-won and Choi Jung-yoon, and was directed and written by Ahn Byeong-ki, who also later directed Phone (2002), Bunshinsaba (2004) and APT (2006) The film was the 6th best selling film of 2000 with 322,000 admissions in Seoul after 5 weeks of screening.

Nightmare (1998 The Outer Limits)

"Nightmare" is an episode of The Outer Limits television show. It was first broadcast on Friday August 14 of 1998, during the fourth season. It is a remake of " Nightmare" (1963), an episode of the original series.

Nightmare (1981 film)

Nightmare (also released as Nightmares in a Damaged Brain) is a 1981 slasher film directed by Romano Scavolini. Nightmare gained instant notoriety among horror fans when it was banned in the UK as a video nasty and its distributor was sentenced to 18 months in prison for refusing to edit one second of violent footage. The film also garnered controversy for claiming in its press material that Tom Savini had provided the film's special effects, which Savini vehemently denied.

Nightmare (comics)

Nightmare, in comics, may refer to:

  • Nightmare (Marvel Comics), a Marvel Comics character
  • Nightmare, a horror comic from Skywald Publications
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (comics)
  • Nightmare (Hillman Comics), a Hillman Comics character.
Nightmare (1942 film)

Nightmare is a 1942 American thriller film directed by Tim Whelan and starring Diana Barrymore, Brian Donlevy and Henry Daniell. The film was based on a novel of the same name by Philip MacDonald.

NightMare (scareware)

NightMare is a scareware program distributed on the Fish Disks for the Amiga computer (Fish #448). It is generally credited to be the first scareware program of its type.

The program was developed by Patrick Evans ( Nobleton, Ontario, Canada) in 1990 and was free to redistribute, with source code available from the author.

Nightmare (French band)

Nightmare is a power metal band, native of Grenoble, France. The band was influenced by the new wave of British heavy metal phenomenon developing in the UK in the 1980s and started their career playing classic heavy metal, that later changed to power metal with death metal and thrash metal influences.

Nightmare (Avenged Sevenfold album)

Nightmare is the fifth studio album by the American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold. It was released on July 27, 2010 through Warner Bros. Records. It was produced by Mike Elizondo and mixed in New York City by noted engineer Andy Wallace. Nightmare is the first Avenged Sevenfold record without James "The Rev" Sullivan performing drums on all the songs due to his death in December 2009; however he did write parts that were used for the final recordings, making this the last album he would write on, The Rev's vocals are still on the album as a tribute to him. This is the only album to feature ex- Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, who performed as the drummer for the album in his place, also played with the band for all their tours through the end of 2010, due to his separation with Dream Theater. They then hired drummer Arin Ilejay, who played with the band for the next four years. The album has been certified Gold by the RIAA in the United States. The album debuted at number 1 in the Billboard 200. As of May 2014 the album has sold 818,000 copies in the United States.

Nightmare (song)

"Nightmare" is a song by American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold, released as the lead single for their fifth studio album, Nightmare.

Nightmare (Atmosfear series)

Nightmare is a horror video board game released in 1991 by A Couple 'A Cowboys and J. W. Spear & Sons as part of the Atmosfear series.

The game is set in a place known as "The Other Side". This place has six Harbingers, each of whom has authority over a Province. To play the game, each player adopts the persona of one of the Harbingers: Gevaudan the werewolf; Hellin the poltergeist; Khufu the mummy; Baron Samedi the zombie; Anne de Chantraine the witch, and Elizabeth Bathory the vampire. The final character in the game is the Gatekeeper, whose job is to ensure that the other characters do not escape from The Other Side.

Nightmare (Building Rome album)

Nightmare is the fourth release from the St. Louis, Missouri based band, Building Rome. Released on 15 September 2009, it gained the band some national attention. It is loosely based on the movie Jacob's Ladder. As possible single, Building Rome made and released a music video for What Are We Fighting For?.

Nightmare (Tuesday Knight song)

"Nightmare", also known as "(Running From This) Nightmare", is a song by American recording artist and actress Tuesday Knight. The song serves as the opening song for the fourth installment of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, in which Knight co-starred. Although not officially released as a single or included on the original soundtrack for the film, "Nightmare" has become a cult hit among horror fans and is one of Knight's most well-known and signature songs.

Nightmare (2011 film)

Nightmare is a 2011 Chinese horror film directed by Yip Wai Ying.

Nightmare (Nightmare album)

Nightmare is the seventh studio album from the Japanese band Nightmare. Like all the band's recent releases, this album was released in three different editions, each with different artwork. The 2 limited edition albums contain bonus DVD tracks, while the regular edition includes a bonus track titled "Dazzle". The album peaked at #10 in the Oricon charts and sold 16,971 copies in the first week.

(Like A) Nightmare

"(Like A) Nightmare" is a 1964 single recorded by The Andantes for the V.I.P. ( Motown) label. Written and composed by Motown's main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, it became the second and last official single by the session group from the company.

The song’s narrator tells off her lover, saying how it hurt her to find he's been unfaithful to her.

'' It was Like A Nightmare, '' To know my love you didn’t share, '' Like A Nightmare, '' To see you in a love affair.

Although this is the only single credited to the group, it was actually their second single; their previous single " Too Hurt to Cry, Too Much in Love to Say Goodbye" was credited to the Darnells. The Andantes, as one of the label's main session groups, sang background vocals for numerous Motown acts, and used to "sweeten" the sound of others. But the group was apparently promised by the company that they would be allowed to record a few singles, but this single was the only one credited to the group. Furthermore, the group was not even allowed to front neither side of both singles. Former Challengers III lead, and future Marvelette, Ann Bogan leads both sides of this single. (Marvelette Gladys Horton, whom Bogan later replaced, was main lead on the previous single's A-side; Lamont Dozier, of Holland–Dozier–Holland, lead its B-side.) Motown did little to promote the single and it was quickly withdrawn, and thus did not chart. The group would continue to back the labels acts in the studio until the labels move to Los Angeles in 1972.

The Andantes would back Bogan again on the Marvelettes' 1968 single "I'm Gonna Hold On as Long as I Can". By the time the Marvelettes disbanded at the end of the decade, the Andantes had, including their singles as well, backed all three Marvelettes lead singers on 16 singles (and several more recordings).

Usage examples of "nightmare".

And then, at the promptings of that spirit of reaction that was abroad in those days when France was awakening from the nightmare of terror, some one made there and then a collection on his behalf, and came to thrust into his hands a great bundle of assignats and bank bills, which to the humble cocassier represented almost a fortune.

He was essentially antipolitical and now the war only reappeared in nightmares.

To think how sure he had been the old priest could assuage his nightmares.

Its wonderful drug Maxatil had helped countless women through the nightmare of menopause, but now it was under attack by the same sharks that had bankrupted A.

The walls were hung with cloths painted in bedlamite scarlets and purples and oranges--not the rude figures of men and animals common on the teepees, but a geometrical nightmare of interwoven cubes and circles.

Mars pressed the same incubus upon all newcomers to her soil: a nightmare of falling, falling, falling into bottomless space.

The bird would snatch his nightmares from him as he dreamed them and then fly with them to the Astral Grotto where they would be incinerated by Manck, the celestial blacksmith, in his essential furnace.

The fright arose from the series of nightmares the girl suffered every night, brought on, she was convinced, by the foreboding presence of Milord in the next room.

It was a gloomy shadowy place at the best, but in those hideous shadows lurked the obscene shapes of monstrous polyps and strange, misformed fish which were like the creations of a nightmare.

Go where you may in Clerkenwell, on every hand are multiform evidences of toil, intolerable as a nightmare.

Tonight the nightmares would come, as they came every night for musers who used magic to harm others.

In less than two hours, the day would be turned into a nightmare for screws and nonces alike.

The evening, which was fast assuming the proportions of a nightmare, had culminated in a brief exchange with the Nonesuch which provided her with much food for thought, and was open to more than one interpretation.

I thought, a photograph from which Pickman meant to paint a background as hideous as the nightmare it was to enhance.

The nightmare people, or pranksters, or whatever they were, had successfully covered their tracks.