Definition of badly in English:



  • 1In an unsatisfactory, inadequate, or unsuccessful way.

    ‘a badly managed company’
    ‘the war was going badly’
    • ‘The system was so badly managed that an ongoing feud between the superintendent of schools and the elected school board resulted in the threat of a state takeover.’
    • ‘An understanding of marriage as ‘a committed relationship’ is badly inadequate.’
    • ‘Managing your money badly may blacklist you not only from credit, but from work.’
    • ‘The French war was going badly, and royal finances were in an unsatisfactory state.’
    • ‘Parking in Devizes is inadequate, badly organised and is driving people to other towns where parking is free and easier to find.’
    • ‘People may lose a war or a struggle, or be badly led or poorly advised, but they must not be humiliated, or treated as alien or less than human.’
    • ‘I would add that the information for passengers is totally inadequate and badly displayed.’
    • ‘Minerva is used to researchers describing the studies in a meta-analysis as poor, inadequate, or badly reported.’
    • ‘Vicky was not so fortunate, however, having chosen badly - and instantly regretting it.’
    • ‘When markets grow rapidly, they cover a multitude of sins and it is pretty hard - although not impossible - for even a poorly managed company to do badly.’
    • ‘That leader must be bold enough to say that devolution is working badly because it is inadequate, that the denial of fiscal autonomy makes for irresponsible and incompetent government.’
    • ‘But, however badly we have managed things up to now, there is still no doubt in my mind that the answer is not no management at all but better management.’
    • ‘Both nurses and doctors are working under intense pressure in a service that has been appallingly under-resourced and badly managed.’
    • ‘However, the reason it is truly grim is because it is badly sung (often woefully out of tune), poorly produced, and mixed in a food blender.’
    • ‘If it is badly designed and managed, it can expose the employer to additional expense.’
    • ‘Either that, or the Board was being managed very badly.’
    • ‘High-profile cases have highlighted the business risks inherent in badly or inadequately implemented IT projects.’
    • ‘It was a decision which Yorkshire lived to regret because they bowled badly and then suffered a batting collapse as Northants pulled off a shock win.’
    • ‘It is inexperienced, badly briefed, poorly trained, unintelligent, unreliable and simply not up to the task.’
    • ‘This is a film so badly made it manages to be as mind-numbingly boring as it is insensitive.’
    unsuccessfully, unfavourably, adversely, unfortunately, unhappily, unluckily
    poorly, incompetently, ineptly, inexpertly, inefficiently, imperfectly, deficiently, defectively, unsatisfactorily, inadequately, incorrectly, faultily, shoddily, amateurishly, carelessly, negligently
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    1. 1.1In an unfavorable way.
      ‘try not to think badly of me’
      • ‘It reflects very badly on NSW Police service and it's no wonder residents no longer give information to police because complaints are not acted on.’
      • ‘And I think you react incredibly badly to criticism.’
      • ‘She believes this reflects badly not only on the workers but those that use the service.’
      • ‘I will promise here and now though that anything I write at 3am on a Saturday morning will stay, however badly it reflects on me.’
      • ‘I take criticism very badly, and when I think it is not deserved it sends me into a state of fear and depression.’
      • ‘Yes, some criticism is misplaced and should be rejected, but this isn't always the case even with criticism that is badly or rudely phrased.’
      • ‘These projects reflect very badly on the owners and developers of these sites, their consultants and engineers, as well as on the Council.’
      • ‘Everyone responds badly to negative criticism, nagging and complaining.’
      • ‘He was a very prickly person and took criticism badly, it took all Halley's skills in diplomacy to nurse the Principia to publication.’
      • ‘Fortunately it isn't reflecting that badly on my mood.’
      • ‘Well, first of all, let me say that the actions of a few have reflected very, very badly on many of us, myself included.’
      • ‘And even if they are, I don't think they reflect that badly on their speakers.’
      • ‘If staff members react badly to criticism and become upset, the manager should suggest a short break or offer to resume the meeting at a later date.’
      • ‘Insults reflect badly not just on the author, but to others whom readers associate with the author.’
      • ‘But, in Italy, fashion disasters reflect as badly on the seller as they do on the buyer.’
      • ‘Given the outlook for 2005 this may prove to be a badly timed decision.’
      • ‘And it has been received rather badly by some critics - how do you feel about that?’
      • ‘Clearly there are occasions on which artists have strong grounds for feeling badly treated by critics.’
      • ‘He was a man with a direct way of dealing with people and he took badly any criticism of his style of leadership.’
      • ‘Gros's last picture, Hercules and Diomedes, a tribute to David, was very badly received by the critics.’
      unfavourably, ill, critically, with disapproval, with disfavour
      severely, seriously, gravely, greatly, grievously, acutely, critically, dangerously
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    2. 1.2In an unacceptable or unpleasant way.
      ‘she realized she was behaving rather badly’
      • ‘He said if you are good you get a lovely life after death and if you behave badly and wrongly you get a horrible life after death.’
      • ‘Chicken, sheep and other animals raised in farms are treated badly.’
      • ‘But Brad was besotted, and no matter how badly he was treated, kept coming back for more - until, eventually, something snapped.’
      • ‘It is not only the bank robbers who treat the victims badly.’
      • ‘He decided to give riding lessons when he discovered how badly animals were being treated in Soweto, especially by children.’
      • ‘Still feeling guilty about a badly handled breakup or about not contributing to an office colleague's fund-raiser?’
      • ‘Animal cruelty inspectors found the two dogs had been so badly treated they weighed just half of what they should have been.’
      • ‘While we were eating, one of the children - a boy aged about seven - behaved rather badly, and this brought a stern rebuke from his father.’
      • ‘If there is a case when someone is treated badly at work, then they can either gain satisfaction through their company's disciplinary policy, or they go to an Industrial Tribunal.’
      • ‘But barely a week later during May Day celebrations, he said the government would seize land from white farmers who treated their workers badly.’
      • ‘Now, she was shocked by how badly some people treated her.’
      • ‘‘I and my family have been very badly treated by sections of the media and I don't wish to comment any further,’ she said.’
      • ‘But the old king was very angry when he saw how his daughter behaved and how badly she treated all his guests.’
      • ‘And more than one-in-four children who took part in the survey also said they worried about being badly treated at home, even if they were confiding their worries to parents.’
      • ‘In subsequently discussing my experience with others, I discovered I was not alone in my being treated very badly by the people at Morris.’
      • ‘But feeling really rather badly treated by the staff I decided to resign from the Social Committee.’
      • ‘It gives them an excuse to treat the hostages badly, and God knows it's bad enough just to be taken hostage and to be confined in some filthy room and maybe blindfolded.’
      • ‘The animals aren't badly treated and no one enjoys inflicting pain.’
      • ‘While being kind to animals sometimes springs from having a gentle heart, it can also stem from a fear of being punished if animals are treated badly.’
      • ‘If the Army treats them badly, they will vote with their feet.’
      reprehensibly, naughtily, mischievously
      cruelly, wickedly, unkindly, harshly, shamefully
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  • 2To a great or serious degree; severely.

    ‘the building was badly damaged by fire’
    ‘I wanted a baby so badly’
    ‘things had begun to go badly wrong’
    • ‘This, the oldest of Emei's monasteries, was badly damaged by fire in 1945 yet its most prized treasure survived unscathed.’
    • ‘Part of the main prayer room of the Masjid-E-Zaninabia mosque in Logwood Street was damaged by fire and badly smokelogged around 6pm yesterday.’
    • ‘One residential building was badly damaged; seven cars were destroyed.’
    • ‘The building was left badly blackened and water damaged after the blaze and property including the bicycles and a bookcase full of hundreds of pounds worth of books was destroyed.’
    • ‘There were widespread fears throughout the town that the building was so badly damaged that it would have to be completely razed for public safety reasons.’
    • ‘Police described the scene as one of ‘mass destruction’ and said some buildings are so badly damaged that they may have to be demolished.’
    • ‘But he added that sum would only cover the expense of restoring the badly damaged listed building to its former glory.’
    • ‘The hospital's older buildings were badly damaged.’
    • ‘It had ignited, and caused a fire that badly damaged the kitchen.’
    • ‘Several buildings were badly damaged and a number of vehicles were overturned.’
    • ‘Two pet dogs were killed and an historic building badly damaged in a fire at Castle Combe on the night of Wednesday 26 February.’
    • ‘Last year, the kitchen area of the building had to be replaced after it was badly damaged by a fire which was started deliberately.’
    • ‘Not only does that stop development and investment; perhaps even more seriously, it badly damages race relations in this country.’
    • ‘A house in Longhope was badly damaged by fire on Sunday.’
    • ‘A second building that was badly damaged in the blaze, was declared unsafe and is expected to be demolished as a result of the fire.’
    • ‘The building had been badly damaged by an arson attack the previous year and a dangerous structures notice had been served by Hull City Council.’
    • ‘It badly damaged the government building and destroyed several vehicles in the street outside.’
    • ‘A pre-school, which has been open for nearly 40 years, faces a desperate fight for survival after its building was badly damaged by flooding.’
    • ‘The building was so badly damaged in the fire it will have to be demolished.’
    • ‘Many of the windows had been long ago smashed out and the top floor seemed to be badly fire damaged.’
    severely, gravely, critically, acutely, sorely, grievously, desperately, alarmingly, dangerously, perilously
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  • [as complement] Guilty or regretful.

    ‘I felt badly about my unfriendliness of the previous evening’
    • ‘I felt badly for them having to do so much and having to be homeschooled’
    • ‘I think this is a good book because it's about two best friends and one has to go so the other one felt badly.’
    • ‘Some even find the knock on the door offensive and insensitive and I’ll be honest, I felt badly for bothering those folks.’
    • ‘The strange thing is that no matter how badly you feel or how guilty at any given moment, time will go on like nothing’s happened.’
    • ‘Over the years, I felt badly that I didn't LOOK like the people that adopted me, then I felt badly that I didn't ACT like the people that were my biological parents.’
    • ‘I felt badly about tying up the room for half an hour, but the volunteer staff said not to worry.’
    • ‘I wanted him to say that he felt badly, felt horrible.’
    • ‘We felt badly about our stock's performance last year.’
    • ‘I felt badly for him when the rest of us were gulping down the cheese but he did ok.’


See bad


  • badly off

    • In an unfavorable situation; at a disadvantage.

      ‘with his pension benefits, he shouldn't be too badly off’
      ‘she was a lot worse off before the divorce’
      • ‘We're not too badly off in the three-quarter line either.’
      • ‘Consider first those people who are badly off: those who are suffering, or destitute, or those whose fundamental needs have not been met.’
      • ‘They are not badly off now, but by 2016, there could be 800,000 camels in the Territory!’
      • ‘Council tax could rise by almost 15 per cent in Lewisham but residents will not be as badly off as other Londoners according to the council.’
      • ‘So document-wise, I'm not too badly off, either.’
      • ‘They could find that they might not be that badly off if the woman decided to stay at home and mind the children and do the housework herself.’
      • ‘‘The fact is that Scotland is not nearly as badly off as other parts of the country when it comes to asylum,’ he says.’
      • ‘And Salvadore says there are others as badly off.’
      • ‘Forcing more social security recipients to involuntarily seek employment would make some badly off people even worse off.’
      • ‘‘We tend to be critical of what we do and can do, but maybe results like this show we are not as badly off as we think,’ Duff said.’
      destitute, poverty-stricken, impoverished, indigent, penniless, insolvent, impecunious, ruined, pauperized, without a penny to one's name, without two farthings to rub together, without two pennies to rub together
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