Definition of ghastly in English:

ghastly

adjective

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

    ‘she was overcome with horror at the ghastly spectacle’
    • ‘Soon, however, the ghastly spectacle was to erupt on the streets itself.’
    • ‘So many reports were prepared of the ghastly crime against humanity and still that work is going on.’
    • ‘But when we looked up, the fires and smoke shifted from ghastly spectacle to specific human horror.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Much of what we see is ghastly and all too real; terrible anguish and sorrow.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There is no way for us to escape this horrible, ghastly death.’
    • ‘Transfixed, discomforted, we can't turn away from the spectacle as it lurches into even more ghastly territory.’
    • ‘The door swung open, and poor Jelvin's mother's eyes beheld the most ghastly sight they would ever see.’
    • ‘When perpetrators of ghastly crimes are tried, we almost always hear the victims' families' calls for vengeance.’
    • ‘For others it was a slaughter of the innocents, a ghastly reminder of the horrors and insanity of war.’
    • ‘The more spectacular and ghastly the terrorist deed, the greater the concentration of minds.’
    • ‘It was a ghastly sight, indeed hardly ever paralleled.’
    • ‘India has had plenty of ghastly crimes, but this was arguably the worst of the lot.’
    • ‘But the horror was just too ghastly to verbalize.’
    • ‘It was not just the ghastly silence that inspired fear.’
    • ‘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.’’
    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’
      • ‘Her mother's eyes widened when she read the signature, and her face turned a ghastly shade of white.’
      • ‘If her face was pale before, it was nothing compared to the ghastly appearance at the moment.’
      • ‘There was no mistaking those ghastly eyes and pale white skin.’
      • ‘From her ghastly pale face, Tom can tell that she was not healthy at all.’
      • ‘His black hair was drawn up in thick spikes, and he had a sallow face which was a ghastly white.’
      • ‘Slowly, Sam turned his head to catch a glimpse of ghastly pale skin and long white hair decorated around a bright gem-like eye.’
      • ‘In the span of a few short minutes, her skin had become a ghastly shade of blue and she felt deathly cold.’
      • ‘Every time I've looked in the mirror, I'm this pale, ghastly thing.’
      • ‘Her skin had a ghastly gray pallor, with dark smudges of sleeplessness under her eyes.’
      • ‘After he left her go, her face turned a ghastly color - nearly white.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His face was ghastly white and his eyes were black and beady.’
      • ‘His eyes were a bright red, and his skin was ghastly pale.’
      • ‘The blue vein was extremely easy to see in his ghastly pale skin.’
      • ‘Pale full pink lips hardly contrasted to the ghastly white fair skin on his face.’
      • ‘The blood flowed and showed ghastly red against his pale skin.’
      • ‘The flow of tears finally ended and some color returned to her ghastly, pale face.’
      • ‘Her lips were shrivelled and pale, her skin a ghastly white.’
      • ‘His face was ghastly white, tears streaming down his face.’
      • ‘Her face was pale and ghastly, her eyes leaking tears faster and faster.’
      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’
    • ‘A ghastly terrible obscene waste of human life.’
    • ‘It would be too ghastly to contemplate the outcome of such an action.’
    • ‘So if that was a nightmare this will be too ghastly too contemplate.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Coupled with a sincere belief in her innate cooking sense, this lack resulted in some spectacularly ghastly meals.’
    • ‘She works in the kitchen, and sometimes she cleans the chamber pots in the house, which I would find downright ghastly and appalling.’
    • ‘With his ghastly haircut and appalling dress sense, and his strange mannerisms, he is, nevertheless a giant of a man.’
    • ‘He is fixed on this ghastly image, this odd aesthetic object.’
    • ‘I can't get the images out of my mind and this ghastly sick feeling inside my stomach.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She is confined to her bed with ghastly old-fashioned furniture and state-supermarket fare.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rose expected the smell to be ghastly and terrible, but it wasn't.’
    • ‘Hopefully it will embarrass those involved as they will have to travel into school on a ghastly coloured pink bus.’
    • ‘Therefore, I shall proceed forthwith to the essentials of the matter and preclude contemplation of such ghastly departures from proper form.’
    • ‘Oh dear; why on earth did they pick such a ghastly canary yellow colour?’
    • ‘It may sound simple but the implications of any fuel price hike are always too ghastly to contemplate.’
    • ‘When I started to take photographs they were all ghastly, except by accident.’
    • ‘Such moments are unpleasant but are not as ghastly as having to do it deliberately.’
    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

/ˈɡas(t)lē//ˈɡæs(t)li/