Meaning of “panic” in the English Dictionary

"panic" in British English

See all translations

panicnoun [ C usually singular, U ]

uk /ˈpæn.ɪk/ us /ˈpæn.ɪk/

B2 a sudden strong feeling of fear that prevents reasonable thought and action:

a state of panic
Panic spread through the crowd as the bullets started to fly.
Carmel was in a panic about her exam.
He got in(to) a panic that he would forget his lines on stage.

More examples

  • Hyperventilation can be caused by fear or panic.
  • I was in a mad panic trying to get everything ready.
  • A wave of panic swept through the crowd and people started running.
  • The explosion sent the crowd into a panic.
  • To say that her resignation was a shock would be an understatement - it caused panic.

panicverb [ I or T ]

uk /ˈpæn.ɪk/ us /ˈpæn.ɪk/ present participle panicking, past tense and past participle panicked

B2 to suddenly feel so worried or frightened that you cannot think or behave calmly or reasonably:

Don't panic! Everything will be okay.
The sound of gunfire panicked the crowd.
The boss always panics over/about the budget every month.

More examples

  • Don't panic - it mightn't be true.
  • Don't panic, there's bags of time yet.
  • Panicking isn't going to help the situation.
  • I suddenly thought no one was going to come and panicked.
  • He panicked and slammed his foot on the brake.

(Definition of “panic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"panic" in American English

See all translations

panicnoun [ C/U ]

us /ˈpæn·ɪk/

a sudden, strong feeling of anxiety or fear that prevents reasonable thought and action and may spread to influence many people:

[ U ] When fire broke out, 602 people died in the panic that ensued.

Panic is also used to describe any behavior that is sudden, extreme, and results from fear:

panic
verb [ I/T ] us /ˈpæn·ɪk/ present participle panicking, past tense and past participle panicked

[ I ] The driver who hit him panicked and fled.
panicky
adjective us /ˈpæn·ɪ·ki/

a panicky feeling

(Definition of “panic” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"panic" in Business English

See all translations

panicnoun [ C or U ]

uk /ˈpænɪk/ us

a sudden strong feeling of fear that prevents reasonable thought and action:

panic about/over sth There is no cause for panic about oil prices.
a state/wave of panic The government was in a state of panic.
cause/trigger panic The drop in prices could cause panic among investors.
There is no sense of panic yet or any feeling that this is the start of a long-term decline in the pound.

panicverb [ I or T ]

uk /ˈpænɪk/ us panicking, panicked, panicked

to suddenly feel so worried or frightened that you cannot think or behave reasonably, or to cause someone to feel this:

There is no need for home buyers to panic.
panic about/over sth Should people with savings panic about the safety of their money?
Oil producers were panicked by the drop in oil prices.
panic sb into doing sth The delay in consumer spending means that shops may be panicked into cutting prices.

panicadjective [ before noun ]

uk /ˈpænɪk/ us

resulting from a feeling of panic:

panic buying/selling Panic buying has led to fears that almost half the gas stations could run out of fuel by tomorrow.
a panic measure/reaction The private meeting was a panic reaction to the news of the merger.

(Definition of “panic” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)