Definition of ghastly in English:

ghastly

adjective

  • 1Causing great horror or fear.

    ‘one of the most ghastly crimes ever committed’
    • ‘But the horror was just too ghastly to verbalize.’
    • ‘For others it was a slaughter of the innocents, a ghastly reminder of the horrors and insanity of war.’
    • ‘It was not just the ghastly silence that inspired fear.’
    • ‘Transfixed, discomforted, we can't turn away from the spectacle as it lurches into even more ghastly territory.’
    • ‘What began as a simple missing persons inquiry developed into an international murder hunt described as one of the most ghastly investigations ever undertaken by Greater Manchester Police.’
    • ‘But when we looked up, the fires and smoke shifted from ghastly spectacle to specific human horror.’
    • ‘It was a ghastly sight, indeed hardly ever paralleled.’
    • ‘The more spectacular and ghastly the terrorist deed, the greater the concentration of minds.’
    • ‘When perpetrators of ghastly crimes are tried, we almost always hear the victims' families' calls for vengeance.’
    • ‘Thus, even the book's most ghastly events are stripped of their horror, and so of their dramatic power as well.’
    • ‘Soon, however, the ghastly spectacle was to erupt on the streets itself.’
    • ‘Their ghastly killings still strike fear, dread and disgust in the communities they pillaged.’
    • ‘But as a film it takes us inside a country in ghastly strife and serves to remind us that the horrors outside what's presented in the film were a thousand times worse than what we see.’
    • ‘Much of what we see is ghastly and all too real; terrible anguish and sorrow.’
    • ‘So many reports were prepared of the ghastly crime against humanity and still that work is going on.’
    • ‘The door swung open, and poor Jelvin's mother's eyes beheld the most ghastly sight they would ever see.’
    • ‘But they vowed: ‘We will not rest until the monster responsible for this ghastly crime is brought to justice and is behind bars.’’
    • ‘There is no way for us to escape this horrible, ghastly death.’
    • ‘India has had plenty of ghastly crimes, but this was arguably the worst of the lot.’
    • ‘Matching the words of the song to the images, we begin to ponder a possible explanation - from a ‘crime passionelle’ to a ghastly workplace accident, or even a bizarre suicide.’
    terrible, frightful, horrible, grim, awful, dire
    serious, severe, grave, very bad, grievous, dreadful, terrible, awful, frightful, dire
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  • 2Extremely unwell.

    ‘she had sobered up but she felt ghastly’
    ill, unwell, washed out, peaky
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    1. 2.1 Deathly white.
      ‘a ghastly pallor’
      • ‘In the span of a few short minutes, her skin had become a ghastly shade of blue and she felt deathly cold.’
      • ‘Her mother's eyes widened when she read the signature, and her face turned a ghastly shade of white.’
      • ‘His black hair was drawn up in thick spikes, and he had a sallow face which was a ghastly white.’
      • ‘The blood flowed and showed ghastly red against his pale skin.’
      • ‘If her face was pale before, it was nothing compared to the ghastly appearance at the moment.’
      • ‘Her lips were shrivelled and pale, her skin a ghastly white.’
      • ‘His face was ghastly white and his eyes were black and beady.’
      • ‘His eyes were a bright red, and his skin was ghastly pale.’
      • ‘His face was ghastly white, tears streaming down his face.’
      • ‘Every time I've looked in the mirror, I'm this pale, ghastly thing.’
      • ‘Pale full pink lips hardly contrasted to the ghastly white fair skin on his face.’
      • ‘The flow of tears finally ended and some color returned to her ghastly, pale face.’
      • ‘There was no mistaking those ghastly eyes and pale white skin.’
      • ‘The blue vein was extremely easy to see in his ghastly pale skin.’
      • ‘From her ghastly pale face, Tom can tell that she was not healthy at all.’
      • ‘Her right arm came up, and pushed a hidden button on her forehead, and the helmet disappeared, replaced by a ghastly pale white head with green hair falling down her shoulders.’
      • ‘Slowly, Sam turned his head to catch a glimpse of ghastly pale skin and long white hair decorated around a bright gem-like eye.’
      • ‘Her skin had a ghastly gray pallor, with dark smudges of sleeplessness under her eyes.’
      • ‘Her face was pale and ghastly, her eyes leaking tears faster and faster.’
      • ‘After he left her go, her face turned a ghastly color - nearly white.’
      pale, white, pallid, pasty, pasty-faced, wan, colourless, anaemic, bloodless, washed out, peaky, peakish, ashen, ashen-faced, ashy, chalky, chalk-white, grey, whitish, white-faced, whey-faced, waxen, waxy, blanched, drained, pinched, green, sickly, sallow, as white as a sheet, as white as a ghost, deathly pale, cadaverous, corpse-like, ghostlike, spectral
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  • 3informal Very objectionable, bad, or unpleasant.

    ‘the weather was ghastly’
    • ‘Oh dear; why on earth did they pick such a ghastly canary yellow colour?’
    • ‘With his ghastly haircut and appalling dress sense, and his strange mannerisms, he is, nevertheless a giant of a man.’
    • ‘The prospect of the team splitting up and going their separate ways is too ghastly to contemplate.’
    • ‘It would be too ghastly to contemplate the outcome of such an action.’
    • ‘I can't get the images out of my mind and this ghastly sick feeling inside my stomach.’
    • ‘When I started to take photographs they were all ghastly, except by accident.’
    • ‘Rose expected the smell to be ghastly and terrible, but it wasn't.’
    • ‘The way Mrs. Keates was carrying on about her hair and her dress and her ghastly perfume, you would think she was being presented to the King himself rather than just going to supper.’
    • ‘One Kansas farmer lined his field with ghastly wind ornaments, rough cut from sheet metal and painted with slogans mocking liberal causes and government tyranny.’
    • ‘He is fixed on this ghastly image, this odd aesthetic object.’
    • ‘I pointed out that apart from the colours being ghastly, they were also dangerous for children.’
    • ‘She is confined to her bed with ghastly old-fashioned furniture and state-supermarket fare.’
    • ‘Coupled with a sincere belief in her innate cooking sense, this lack resulted in some spectacularly ghastly meals.’
    • ‘Therefore, I shall proceed forthwith to the essentials of the matter and preclude contemplation of such ghastly departures from proper form.’
    • ‘It may sound simple but the implications of any fuel price hike are always too ghastly to contemplate.’
    • ‘A ghastly terrible obscene waste of human life.’
    • ‘Hopefully it will embarrass those involved as they will have to travel into school on a ghastly coloured pink bus.’
    • ‘She works in the kitchen, and sometimes she cleans the chamber pots in the house, which I would find downright ghastly and appalling.’
    • ‘Such moments are unpleasant but are not as ghastly as having to do it deliberately.’
    • ‘So if that was a nightmare this will be too ghastly too contemplate.’
    unpleasant, objectionable, offensive, disagreeable, distasteful, displeasing, unacceptable, off-putting, undesirable, obnoxious
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Origin

Middle English: from obsolete gast ‘terrify’, from Old English gǣstan, of Germanic origin; related to ghost. The gh spelling is by association with ghost. The sense ‘objectionable’ dates from the mid 19th century.

Pronunciation

ghastly

/ˈɡɑːs(t)li/