Webster: terrorism: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion But http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism gives a overview. Quite interesting. Some extracts: 1. Although the exact meaning of the term is disputed, it is commonly held that the distinctive nature of terrorism lies in its deliberate and specific selection of civilians as targets, a choice designed to attract wide publicity and cause extreme levels of public shock, outrage and fear. Terrorists believe these conditions will help to bring about the political or religious changes that they seek. 2. In the current post-9-11 context, many contend that the word terrorist is overly politicized; they argue that it is used not a reference to a behaviour, but rather as a label to demonize an enemy in terms that convey moral repulsion and outrage. This process of demonization of an enemy is normal in wartime and serves to solidify public opinion:George W. Bush of the USA, for example, routinely describes "the terrorists" as being "evil" and "without conscience". What's your idea?