From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishnightmarenight‧mare /ˈnaɪtmeə $ -mer/ ●●○ noun [countable] 1 DREAMa very frightening dreamnightmare about Years after the accident I still have nightmares about it. a recurring nightmare (=one which you have again and again)2 EXPERIENCE[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 journey3 BADsomething terrible that you fear may happen in the futurenightmare of the nightmare of a nuclear warnightmare scenario (=the worst or most frightening situation that you can imagine) —nightmarish adjectiveCOLLOCATIONS – Meaning 2: a very difficult, unpleasant, or frightening experience or situationadjectivesan absolute/complete nightmareThe whole day was an absolute nightmare.a real nightmareThe situation with our neighbours is a real nightmare!the ultimate nightmare (=the worst possible situation)The ultimate nightmare for any parent is to suffer the loss of a child.somebody's worst nightmare (=the worst possible situation)The outbreak of foot and mouth disease was farming's worst nightmare.a long nightmareHow can we bring an end to the long nightmare in the Middle East?a living/waking nightmare (=something extremely bad that happens in your life)Being told I had cancer was a waking nightmare.a logistical nightmare (=something that is very complicated and difficult to organize)Arranging childcare during the summer can be a logistical nightmare.an administrative/bureaucratic nightmare (=something that is very complicated and difficult to keep accurate records of)Dealing with so many new applications for asylum is an administrative nightmare.a personal/private nightmare (=a very bad situation that affects only one person)His personal nightmare began when he was arrested for murder.verbsbe a nightmareThe whole holiday was a nightmare.become/turn into a nightmareTheir honeymoon turned into a nightmare when they were involved in a car accident.a nightmare beginsThe nightmare began when her mother fell ill.a nightmare endsWe just want this nightmare to end!end a nightmareHe longed for something to end the nightmare.a nightmare comes true (=something bad that someone fears actually happens)The company's worst financial nightmare has now come true.nightmare + NOUNthe nightmare scenario (=the worst possible situation)Emergency planners are trying to prepare for this nightmare scenario.a nightmare vision (=a very bad situation that might happen)The book gives us a nightmare vision of a family destroyed by one man's secrets.a nightmare world (=a situation in which everything is bad and there is nothing good)It's hard to understand how people survived the nightmare world of the concentration camps.a nightmare journey/trip (=an extremely unpleasant journey)Commuters are facing a nightmare journey to work due to the tube drivers strike.
Examples from the Corpusnightmare• There is a difference between a bad dream and a nightmare.• The hostages described life in the prison camp as a nightmare of fear and uncertainty.• Starting school can be a nightmare for some children.• Thousands of commuters faced a nightmare journey to work because of the strikes.• In the early hours of the morning, at about three, Stephen jerked awake from a nightmare.• He woke from a nightmare, trembling with fear.• He came awake suddenly, feeling frightened, as if he had had a nightmare.• There were lots of posters and stuffed animals but all of them had a nightmare quality.• Still, Streep and Neeson are wonderful to watch as they show us how easily normality can slip into a nightmare.• The couple's honeymoon turned into a nightmare when Martin suddenly became very ill.• We were stuck in a traffic jam for about four hours - it was a nightmare.• It was a nightmare driving home in the snow.• As the ship went down, people were rushing around in the dark screaming and yelling. It was an absolute nightmare.• The man looked like something from a bad nightmare.• Highway 17 is a commuter nightmare.• An oil spill on this part of the coast is the conservationists' nightmare scenario.• During the trial, she had nightmares.• Years after the accident I still have nightmares about it.• Visions or nightmares for others, but for him daylight events, in full consciousness.have nightmares• Other children act out in school and have nightmares, the parents say.• If he slept he might have nightmares about Will and Chessie.• I was going to have nightmares for weeks.• He didn't want me to have nightmares, he said.• But after that, I started to have nightmares.• But now I knew I would have nightmares all night: Did I give one little child too much?nightmare of (doing) something• Everything had been reduced to chance, a nightmare of numbers and probabilities.• A nightmare of wilt and mildew, of fungus and blackspot.• We've all had nightmares of falling.• I still shudder recalling the recurring nightmare of Tuesdays, when we went to the art house to lay out the paper.• That still wouldn't solve the problem of that nightmare of an interview, though, would it?• The nightmare of being wrongly accused and convicted of a crime certainly sends shivers down my spine.• The ultimate nightmare of almost every man is to witness helplessly the rape of his wife.• Urban nightmare of the past Small towns were overrun, new towns created.nightmare of• the nightmare of cancerOrigin nightmare (1200-1300) night + mare “evil spirit” ((11-18 centuries)) (from Old English)