Nightmare
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] [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster +PJC]

3. Hence: Any overwhelming, oppressive, or terrifying experience resembling a nightmare[2] especially in the inability to escape from an unpleasant situation. [1913 Webster +PJC]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Synonyms:

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  • nightmare — (n.) late 13c., an evil female spirit afflicting sleepers with a feeling of suffocation, compounded from NIGHT (Cf. night) + MARE (Cf. mare) (3) goblin that causes nightmares, incubus. Meaning shifted mid 16c. from the incubus to the suffocating… …   Etymology dictionary

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