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[nahyt-mair] /ˈnaɪtˌmɛər/

a terrifying dream in which the dreamer experiences feelings of helplessness, extreme anxiety, sorrow, etc.
a condition, thought, or experience suggestive of a nightmare:
the nightmare of his years in prison.
(formerly) a monster or evil spirit believed to oppress persons during sleep.
a terrifying or deeply distressing dream

a thing that is feared
(formerly) an evil spirit supposed to harass or suffocate sleeping people

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.

nightmare night·mare (nīt’mâr’)


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  • Nightmarish

    [nahyt-mair-ish] /ˈnaɪtˌmɛər ɪʃ/ adjective 1. resembling a , especially in being terrifying, exasperating, or the like: his nightmarish experience in a concentration camp. adj. 1834, from nightmare + -ish. Related: Nightmarishly; nightmarishness.

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  • Night-night

    [interjection nahyt-nahyt, -nahyt; adverb nahyt-nahyt] /interjection ˈnaɪtˈnaɪt, -ˌnaɪt; adverb ˈnaɪtˌnaɪt/ interjection 1. Informal. good night. Idioms 2. go night-night, Baby Talk. to go to bed or to sleep. sentence substitute 1. an informal word for good night nursery talk, “good-night,” 1896; form nighty-night is attested from 1876. interjection An amiable parting salutation at night (1896+)

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