Jump Scare

What is a jump scare?

A startling occurrence intended to scare

A jump scare is when a person unexpectedly encounters something terrifying, such as a person jumping out from behind the wall or a startling scream in the middle of the night. While people may experience jump scares ("jumpscares," "jump-scares," etc.) in real life, they most often occur in movies and video games, startling the characters and the viewers.

For example, a movie scene may feature an actor standing in front of a mirror who bends down to pick an object from the floor. The camera follows the actor as they bend down, then when they stand up in front of the mirror again, a person is now standing behind them, causing the actor to jump from being startled (along with the audience).

You will most likely encounter jump scares in suspenseful or horror-related media. The jump scares help keep the audience on the edge of their seat and give them some adrenaline rushes. Some movies and games are self-aware enough to purposely misdirect audiences that expect a jump scare or prolong the suspense to a seemingly-unbearable degree.


One of the scariest jump scares is in the Ring when they cut to the girl in the closet
Yeah, I shut it off after that and went to bed

Related Slang


Updated May 25, 2023

Jump scare definition by Slang.net

This page explains what the slang term "Jump scare" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the Slang.net team.

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