It should really be épouvantable épouvantail but WordPress (the blog template I use) doesn’t deal with accents in titles well, so I try to avoid them.
An épouvantail (épouvantail à oiseaux, in its full form) is a scarecrow, from épouvante which means terror, from the Latin expavens, entis, fear which also gave the Italian spaventare. I can’t think of any related English words, which is most unusual with all the French-based borrowings due to the Norman invasion.
The adjective from épouvante is épouvantable meaning dreadful or appalling. Quelle histoire épouvantable means what a shocking/appalling story.
And, of course, a film d’épouvante is a horror film and a roman d’épouvante a horror story.
I thought a post on épouvante was sort of appropriate considering that yesterday was Halloween! And if you’d like to know more about Halloween in France, you might like to click on the post I wrote last year.