Definition of ghastly in US English:

ghastly

adjectiveghastlier, ghastliest

  • 1Causing great horror or fear; frightful or macabre.

    ‘she was overcome with horror at the ghastly spectacle’
    • ‘India has had plenty of ghastly crimes, but this was arguably the worst of the lot.’
    • ‘When perpetrators of ghastly crimes are tried, we almost always hear the victims' families' calls for vengeance.’
    • ‘It was not just the ghastly silence that inspired fear.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The door swung open, and poor Jelvin's mother's eyes beheld the most ghastly sight they would ever see.’
    • ‘Transfixed, discomforted, we can't turn away from the spectacle as it lurches into even more ghastly territory.’
    • ‘Their ghastly killings still strike fear, dread and disgust in the communities they pillaged.’
    • ‘But they vowed: ‘We will not rest until the monster responsible for this ghastly crime is brought to justice and is behind bars.’’
    • ‘Soon, however, the ghastly spectacle was to erupt on the streets itself.’
    • ‘It was a ghastly sight, indeed hardly ever paralleled.’
    • ‘There is no way for us to escape this horrible, ghastly death.’
    • ‘So many reports were prepared of the ghastly crime against humanity and still that work is going on.’
    • ‘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 the horror was just too ghastly to verbalize.’
    • ‘Thus, even the book's most ghastly events are stripped of their horror, and so of their dramatic power as well.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The more spectacular and ghastly the terrorist deed, the greater the concentration of minds.’
    • ‘But when we looked up, the fires and smoke shifted from ghastly spectacle to specific human horror.’
    • ‘For others it was a slaughter of the innocents, a ghastly reminder of the horrors and insanity of war.’
    • ‘Much of what we see is ghastly and all too real; terrible anguish and sorrow.’
    terrible, frightful, horrible, grim, awful, dire
    serious, severe, grave, very bad, grievous, dreadful, terrible, awful, frightful, dire
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  • 2Extremely unwell.

    ‘he always felt ghastly first thing in the morning’
    ill, unwell, washed out, peaky
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    1. 2.1 Deathly white or pallid.
      ‘a ghastly pallor’
      as submodifier ‘he turned ghastly pale and rushed to the bathroom’
      • ‘After he left her go, her face turned a ghastly color - nearly white.’
      • ‘In the span of a few short minutes, her skin had become a ghastly shade of blue and she felt deathly cold.’
      • ‘The blue vein was extremely easy to see in his ghastly pale skin.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Slowly, Sam turned his head to catch a glimpse of ghastly pale skin and long white hair decorated around a bright gem-like eye.’
      • ‘Pale full pink lips hardly contrasted to the ghastly white fair skin on his face.’
      • ‘His eyes were a bright red, and his skin was ghastly pale.’
      • ‘From her ghastly pale face, Tom can tell that she was not healthy at all.’
      • ‘Every time I've looked in the mirror, I'm this pale, ghastly thing.’
      • ‘Her lips were shrivelled and pale, her skin a ghastly white.’
      • ‘The blood flowed and showed ghastly red against his pale skin.’
      • ‘His face was ghastly white, tears streaming down his face.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her face was pale and ghastly, her eyes leaking tears faster and faster.’
      • ‘If her face was pale before, it was nothing compared to the ghastly appearance at the moment.’
      • ‘His face was ghastly white and his eyes were black and beady.’
      • ‘Her skin had a ghastly gray pallor, with dark smudges of sleeplessness under her eyes.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.

    ‘we had to wear ghastly old-fashioned dresses’
    • ‘I pointed out that apart from the colours being ghastly, they were also dangerous for children.’
    • ‘The prospect of the team splitting up and going their separate ways is too ghastly to contemplate.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rose expected the smell to be ghastly and terrible, but it wasn't.’
    • ‘Therefore, I shall proceed forthwith to the essentials of the matter and preclude contemplation of such ghastly departures from proper form.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It would be too ghastly to contemplate the outcome of such an action.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She works in the kitchen, and sometimes she cleans the chamber pots in the house, which I would find downright ghastly and appalling.’
    • ‘Coupled with a sincere belief in her innate cooking sense, this lack resulted in some spectacularly ghastly meals.’
    • ‘A ghastly terrible obscene waste of human life.’
    • ‘When I started to take photographs they were all ghastly, except by accident.’
    • ‘With his ghastly haircut and appalling dress sense, and his strange mannerisms, he is, nevertheless a giant of a man.’
    • ‘I can't get the images out of my mind and this ghastly sick feeling inside my stomach.’
    • ‘She is confined to her bed with ghastly old-fashioned furniture and state-supermarket fare.’
    • ‘It may sound simple but the implications of any fuel price hike are always too ghastly to contemplate.’
    • ‘Oh dear; why on earth did they pick such a ghastly canary yellow colour?’
    • ‘He is fixed on this ghastly image, this odd aesthetic object.’
    • ‘Hopefully it will embarrass those involved as they will have to travel into school on a ghastly coloured pink bus.’
    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

/ˈɡæs(t)li//ˈɡas(t)lē/