Origin of the Word Nightmare
We are aware that a Nightmare is a bad dream, which can cause a strong emotional response from the mind, and creates fear or anxiety or sadness. Often it contains situations of discomfort, psychological or physical terror or panic. Nightmares are actually vividly realistic and disturbing dreams that rattle a person wide awake from a deep sleep with pounding heart. The subjects of nightmares vary from person to person. Some nightmares are quite common.
A lot of adults have nightmares about not being able to run fast enough to escape a danger or about falling from a great height or getting late to reach the examination hall or office.
However, why the bad dream is associated with a strange term like “Nightmare ,” is a surprising issue. It is said that the word ‘Nightmare’ is a combination of two separate words.
In Old English the word ‘mare’ is a female horse, a mythological evil female spirit or goblin that sits upon a sleeper’s chest, almost suffocates them and gives them bad dreams. Subsequently, the prefix "night" was added to stress the dream aspect. The word "nightmare" has many similarities with the Old Dutch term ‘ nachtmerrie’ and German ‘Nachtmahr.’