Definition of terrible in English:

terrible

adjective

  • 1Extremely bad or serious:

    ‘a terrible crime’
    ‘the terrible conditions in which the ordinary people lived’
    • ‘It is a terrible reality that poor children in the South can get guns but not a decent meal.’
    • ‘He was in terrible pain and I rang for the ambulance.’
    • ‘All I can remember is the constant terrible pain.’
    • ‘That work was made for a hospital run by an order of monks whose mission was to serve people who were in terrible pain, especially those who had lost limbs.’
    • ‘We have been sick for nearly three months - headaches, severe neck stiffness and pain, rashes and terrible fatigue.’
    • ‘We learned, as too many other families learned, of the terrible pain and loneliness that must be endured as each day brings another reminder of this very long goodbye.’
    • ‘Rarely does television so sensitively and thoughtfully depict the terrible grief and pain of loss, with all its far-reaching and long-lived repercussions.’
    • ‘In the 1950s, chemical weapons, like hydrogen bombs, became symbols of terror that could bring terrible destruction.’
    • ‘This terrible tragedy has serious repercussions for animals, too.’
    • ‘Instead, he thought about Whitney, worried that she was in pain or that terrible things were happening to her.’
    • ‘We can see a poor man in terrible trouble yet fail to help him.’
    • ‘Those against capital punishment argue that it is brutal and degrading, while supporters regard it as an essential way of achieving vengeance/revenge for terrible crimes.’
    • ‘All her friends pray every day that the British government will bring the perpetrator of this terrible crime to justice.’
    • ‘There, amid the danger and terrible conditions, he found a new sense of purpose.’
    • ‘Some people with terrible disabilities reveal extraordinary qualities, which enrich their own lives and those of people around them.’
    • ‘In those first, terrible days after the storm and catastrophic flood, the poorest citizens were locked in a desperate struggle for survival.’
    • ‘Everyone, especially the poor, felt the terrible effects of the famine of 1846 and 1847 with its suffering, death and destruction.’
    • ‘A spokesman said: ‘This was a truly terrible and tragic accident, at a time when they were supposed to be the happiest of their lives.’’
    • ‘I mean, people say the trial is itself proof that things have changed, that there is a consensus that these were terrible crimes and that someone must answer for them.’
    • ‘I am, therefore, aware of the terrible effect that serious lung disease can have on an individual and their family.’
    severe, extreme, intense, excruciating, agonizing, unbearable, intolerable, unendurable, insufferable
    dreadful, awful, appalling, horrific, horrifying, horrible, horrendous, atrocious, abominable, abhorrent, frightful, fearful, shocking, hideous, ghastly, grim, dire, hateful, unspeakable, gruesome, monstrous, sickening, heinous, vile
    very bad, dreadful, awful, frightful, atrocious, hopeless, poor, inadequate, inferior, unsatisfactory, laughable, substandard
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Extremely unpleasant or disagreeable:
      ‘the weather was terrible’
      • ‘While rats may not seem like a huge menace, they have a terrible effect on neighborhood morale and the quality of everyday life.’
      • ‘In return, Jamie shuddered that it had been a ‘horrible, terrible film!’’
      • ‘It's terrible being unemployed, poor and temporarily car-less.’
      • ‘I had a terrible time finding stores that stocked a selection of good quality flannel sheets in California.’
      • ‘She's got this truly terrible habit of emphasising random syllables in news reports.’
      • ‘Do you fear it getting to the administration at all, or do you think this is just a horrible, terrible business scandal?’
      • ‘Then the most terrible and sickening thought struck Tori.’
      • ‘It's a real mess and creates a terrible impression when millions of pounds are being spent to improve the main gateways to the city.’
      • ‘No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't manage to wake himself from the dreams, stuck in the terrible hell that was his own mind.’
      • ‘And so that's what I hope can be available for people in these troubled times, these terrible situations.’
      • ‘Just looking at that terrible green and blue colour scheme is enough to make me shudder.’
      • ‘‘This film features the character as a terrible and unpleasant person,’ Roth said adding that he regards himself as an angry man.’
      • ‘Pre-season training is really terrible, sheer hell basically, but you always come back with fresh optimism and we have got to look forward now.’
      • ‘We understand the terrible effects such nasty behaviours can create, and we don't want it here.’
      • ‘I bit back the urge to scream, as the wind whistled past my face and I braced myself for a sickening thud and terrible landing.’
      • ‘Rosé expected the smell to be ghastly and terrible, but it wasn't.’
      • ‘They're not embodying their characters and talking; they're actors poorly reciting their terrible lines.’
      • ‘Here, despite the long and terrible years of the troubles, was a community rising on the economic and cultural tides, self-made and self-possessed.’
      • ‘It's been a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad year for journalism.’
      • ‘Jose Macias has had a terrible time offensively and defensively at second this year, and rookie Oscar Salazar is short on experience.’
      unkind, nasty, unpleasant, foul, obnoxious, vile, contemptible, despicable, wretched, shabby
      nasty, disgusting, very unpleasant, awful, dreadful, ghastly, horrid, horrible, vile, foul, abominable, frightful, loathsome, revolting, repulsive, odious, sickening, nauseating, nauseous, repellent, repugnant, horrendous, hideous, appalling, offensive, objectionable, obnoxious
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Very unskilful:
      ‘despite passing my driving test first time, I'm a terrible driver’
      ‘I was terrible at basketball’
      • ‘Let's face it, they are a terrible, terrible offensive team.’
      • ‘Most of them are terrible at graphic design, and often see its deployment as an unwelcome imposition on their aesthetic vision.’
      • ‘I am terrible at answering the phone and calling people back.’
      • ‘I think it probably has an okay plot, but I'm just terrible at writing it!’
      • ‘I pretended to be concerned with my own affairs but it was hard considering the fact I was terrible at keeping to myself.’
      • ‘One of the difficulties in filming animals is that they are terrible at taking direction.’
      • ‘Ruth himself used to hand out nicknames to teammates, mainly because he was terrible at remembering people's real names.’
      • ‘Most people who work in kitchens are terrible at verbalizing what they need.’
      • ‘I love singing but I'm terrible at it, but that won't stop me!’
      • ‘We are terrible at deciding not to do something.’
      • ‘The only problem was that Jonah wasn't very important at all, at least in his humble opinion, and he was terrible at making plans of any sort.’
      • ‘Most hair loss treatments are pretty terrible at growing new hair, but aren't bad when it comes to keeping existing hair.’
      • ‘I'm terrible at writing stories, but I'm really trying to put in an effort.’
      • ‘I am terrible at knowing how or when to take the step to move a relationship toward more intimacy.’
      • ‘I looked over at her; she mouthed something to me, but I'm terrible at reading lips so I just shook my head and shrugged.’
      • ‘It turned out Curtis was terrible at basketball.’
      • ‘I was never athletic, and I'm terrible at managing anger.’
      • ‘The tests are pretty boring, and usually easy (except for math, but that's just because I'm terrible at math).’
      • ‘This is a good time to mention that the Core Team is terrible at identifying birds.’
      • ‘Tash had danced with Richard, who was surprisingly adept at a waltz, Sean, who wasn't, and David, who was terrible at everything.’
    3. 1.3informal [attributive] Used to emphasize the extent of something unpleasant or bad:
      ‘what a terrible mess’
      • ‘By disguising himself as a mentally retarded person, he was able to experience and expose the terrible discrimination these poor souls must everyday endure.’
      • ‘When I moved into my new house, the garden was a terrible mess.’
      • ‘For it was only when that shocked medics were able to examine the X-Rays that they were able to judge the full extent of his terrible injury.’
      • ‘The closure of the Webb's chicken factory was a terrible blow to the town's economy, but presented civic leaders with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’
      • ‘I swallowed hard, trying to take in the sight of my home in such a terrible mess.’
      • ‘Why would he be selfish enough to kill himself and leave poor Delia with this terrible burden?’
      • ‘We got up the next morning to find this room a terrible mess - dead leaves and branches, chips of bark and shards of glass everywhere.’
      • ‘I also had a couple of ciders and that together with the bright sunlight most likely brought on the terrible headache that incapacitated me in the evening.’
      • ‘It can be a particularly painful and unpleasant disease with serious side-effects which can take a terrible toll on quality of life.’
      • ‘The grief of the parents of this poor girl has been terrible.’
      • ‘On one hand, the film is a terrible mess of plot holes, ridiculous premises, and overacting.’
      • ‘Alladi Jayasri writes about Gurudev, who reminds us of the terrible calamities waiting to punish us for our cruelty to Nature.’
      • ‘I am really looking forward to working on the games, but like many I'm worried I'll make a terrible mess of things.’
      • ‘The poor girl looked so beaten, with a terrible black eye.’
      • ‘Mr. and Mrs. Beaver are amateurishly done, with terrible costumes including pathetic-looking tails.’
      • ‘The commission of inquiry exposed the terrible poverty, poor housing conditions and lack of social services that had led to the tragedy.’
      • ‘Last night I put the sauce in the microwave and didn't watch it - it boiled over and made a terrible mess.’
      • ‘His fiancée was accidentally drowned on the very eve of their wedding and Joseph Scriven was plunged into terrible sorrow.’
      • ‘‘He seemed to be filled with terrible hopelessness,’ she writes.’
      • ‘This actually may be happening to some extent with the terrible AIDS pandemic that's occurring in Africa.’
      incorrigible, outrageous, great, extreme
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 Very unwell or troubled:
      ‘I was sick all night and felt terrible for two days’
      • ‘I paused before answering, feeling terrible and sick to my stomach.’
      • ‘I feel terrible at the disappointed tone in his voice… whatever it is he wants me to see, it's got to be something really good.’
      • ‘Only it was, and now you feel terrible, downright sick to the bottom of your stomach, and the look on Noah's face makes you instantly regret your decision to tell him.’
      • ‘And despite feeling much better I also feel terrible for being so nasty.’
      • ‘One always feels sort of terrible disagreeing with people who have clearly endured horrors that you have no handle on.’
      • ‘When someone approached and joked that he looked terrible, he smiled.’
      • ‘"You must have made her feel terrible, " he said.’
      • ‘I feel pretty terrible; you don't blame it on some poor videographer.’
      • ‘The options were overpriced, unattractive and could make a super model look terrible.’
      • ‘His face went white, he clutched his chest and the poor guy looked terrible.’
      • ‘I looked at Gabriela Szabo after four laps and she looked absolutely terrible.’
      • ‘If you feel that terrible about it, try comparing yourself to yourself.’
      guilty, conscience-stricken, remorseful, guilt-ridden, ashamed, chastened, contrite, sorry, full of regret, regretful, repentant, penitent, shamefaced, self-reproachful, apologetic
      ill, unwell, poorly, bad, indisposed, sick, queasy, nauseous, nauseated, peaky, liverish, out of sorts, green about the gills
      View synonyms
  • 2Causing or likely to cause terror; sinister:

    ‘the stranger gave a terrible smile’
    • ‘A spooky black lady smiles, nursing something terrible in a parcel.’
    • ‘The woman stumbled back, a terrible smile on her pretty face, swallowing in the drink in her mouth before she allowed herself a grin, and then a laugh.’
    • ‘She brought the knife to Abby's throat, smiling in terrible triumph, and Chris screamed.’
    • ‘It emphasises how terrible the villain is: the woman's warning that the hero's life is in danger conveys to the audience how powerful the villain is, and thus makes the tale more exciting.’
    • ‘‘Time to cut the cake,’ said Elaine's father with a terrible forced smile.’
    • ‘He said the arson gang were ‘sick and truly terrible individuals’ and condemned them and their families for laughing and joking during the trial, and when it concluded.’
    • ‘Heathcliff was lying on his back, and he met Nelly with a terrible smile!’
    • ‘The sky was a lullaby of blue light and ice, but looking beyond that, near the edge of sight, there was a fire, something soothing and terrible at once.’
    • ‘Yet we knew a terrible secret far more sinister than Ray Martin's wig or the little green men at Roswell.’
    • ‘But he protested his innocence, and as he rambled on, Hera all the while smiled her terrible smile and stroked my flanks.’
    • ‘Ramirez smiled then, a terrible rictus with more than a hint of malice.’
    • ‘That terrible smile of his returned slyly, as if he knew precisely what he was doing.’
    • ‘In a world with only one remaining superpower, even small and materially poor states and groups can pose terrible threats.’
    • ‘Shuto screamed an ancient battle cry and charged into the night, the only light in the dark the sinister eyes of his terrible adversaries.’
    • ‘She turned to Wolf with a terrible little smile.’
    • ‘The dungeon of hell is a terrible but mysterious place.’
    • ‘I was on my knees, my vision clouded in a haze of pain, and then I shook it off and stood up, a terrible smile on my face.’
    • ‘They both have terrible teeth, and consequently terrible, close-lipped smiles.’
    • ‘Somewhere in the darkness, the faint echo of a terrible drawn out scream was carried on the breeze from the mountains and the three adventurers froze in place.’
    • ‘He smiled a terrible smile and immediately left the room.’

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense ‘causing terror’): via French from Latin terribilis, from terrere frighten.

Pronunciation:

terrible

/ˈtɛrɪb(ə)l/