There is neither an academic nor an international legal consensus regarding the proper definition of the word "terrorism". Various legal systems and government agencies use different definitions of "terrorism". Moreover, the international community has been slow to formulate a universally agreed upon, legally binding definition of this crime. These difficulties arise from the fact that the term "terrorism" is politically and emotionally charged
The term "terrorism" comes from French terrorisme, from Latin: 'terror', "great fear", "dread", related to the Latin verb terrere, "to frighten". The terror cimbricus was a panic and state of emergency in Rome in response to the approach of warriors of the Cimbritribe in 105BC. The French National Convention declared in September 1793 that "terror is the order of the day". The period 1793–94 is referred to as La Terreur (Reign of Terror). Maximilien Robespierre, a leader in the French revolution proclaimed in 1794 that "Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible."
The Committee of Public Safety agents that enforced the policies of "The Terror" were referred to as "Terrorists". The word "terrorism" was first recorded in English-language dictionaries in 1798 as meaning "systematic use of terror as a policy".
Although the Reign of Terror was imposed by the French government, in modern times "terrorism" usually refers to the killing of people by non-government political activists for political reasons, often as a public statement
Scholars and recognized experts on terrorism
Numerous scholars have proposed working definitions of terrorism. Bruce Hoffman, a well-known scholar, has thus noted that:
It is not only individual agencies within the same governmental apparatus that cannot agree on a single definition of terrorism. Experts and other long-established scholars in the field are equally incapable of reaching a consensus. In the first...