Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1200-1300
Origin: night + mare 'evil spirit' (11-18 centuries) (from Old English)

nightmare

noun
     
night‧mare [countable]
1 a very frightening dream
nightmare about
Years after the accident I still have nightmares about it.
a recurring nightmare (=one which you have again and again)
2 [usually singular] a very difficult, unpleasant, or frightening experience or situation:
Traffic was a nightmare.
nightmare for
This has been an absolute nightmare for me and my family.
nightmare of (doing) something
the nightmare of going through divorce
It was every teacher's worst nightmare (=the worst thing which could have happened).
a nightmare journey
3 something terrible that you fear may happen in the future
nightmare of
the nightmare of a nuclear war
nightmare scenario (=the worst or most frightening situation that you can imagine)
nightmarish adjective

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