Terror vs horror

Terror and horror are seen as very similar words. People tend to use them in the same situation, but they both show some expressive differences created by nineteenth-century writers and this article will explore the main aspects of this dichotomy.The distinction made between these two concepts appeared in nineteenth century in a literary tradition called Gothic Fiction whose main figure was Ann Radcliffe, an English writer. These terms are both human emotions but the difference between them is provided by the responses motivated by any kind of fearful situation.


On the one hand, terror is usually described as a first step in the way of horror and is provoked by a danger or a menace. Terror activates the nervous system and prepares the body for a fight or for a escape response. Terror is more related to anxiety. On the other hand, horror offers a person an overwhelming feeling that sometimes has been described as a combination of terror and revulsion that can paralyze a person. Worms in a human wound can be described as a horror experience and, in the same way, natural disasters, ghosts or zombies can provoke a shocking reaction, and, therefore, the person under that shock cannot escape from that situation.
Enrique Yuste Rivero

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