Definition of horrid in US English:



  • 1Causing horror.

    ‘a horrid nightmare’
    • ‘‘That was a horrid, horrid time,’ said Dennis, who has three daughters, one son, a step-daughter and five grandchildren.’
    • ‘Why couldn't it have all been a horrid nightmare?’
    • ‘Still others simply enjoy Poe's unmatched style that conjures up remarkably horrid mental images and brings on a wonderfully grim suspense.’
    • ‘She wished that she could wake up from this horrid nightmare, but no matter how many times she pinched herself, it hurt every time.’
    • ‘Whilst he was writing the book in 1782 Beckford wrote in a letter, ‘I am at work on a story so horrid that I tremble whilst relating it, and have not a nerve in my frame but vibrates’.’
    • ‘The horrid images of mistreatment by military police being broadcast around the globe have already proved damaging to their interests overseas.’
    • ‘She couldn't help but think of thousands of horrid possibilities.’
    • ‘The scenarios I thought up were more horrid and gruesome than the whispers that still continued, growing in volume until I was sure I would go mad.’
    • ‘For the past few months, she has been living a horrid nightmare after the sudden death of her ten-year-old daughter, Nicole Pierre.’
    • ‘Why couldn't this be a dream, a horrid nightmare?’
    • ‘What this ignores is the horrid possibility that the larger force will bring its full might to bear on the issue.’
    • ‘Elsewhere, in the outside world, sad, horrid times are upon us, with a fearsome outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease among sheep and cattle right across the Kingdom.’
    • ‘The Newscaster, reporting on the scene, tries to distract his audience from the horrid nightmare by relating an Englishman's views on Steel Tariffs.’
    • ‘Tielle nodded, and they left the suddenly horrid room with its gruesome corpse.’
    • ‘As one walks there at night when peaceful Balinese music is suddenly transformed into bomb-like thunder, one just can't stop a horrid chill creeping over every part of the body.’
    • ‘His fingers moved and curled, showing his nervousness about the subject as he began to explain the horrid nightmare that tortured him so.’
    • ‘The horrid images of her nightmare have disappeared for the moment.’
    • ‘That was almost a horrid idea, but something about it illuminated many other possibilities.’
    • ‘I was shaken awake a few minutes later from a horrid nightmare which flew from my mind as I tried to grasp what I had dreamt about.’
    • ‘It's just sad and grim, a horrid reflection on our species' tendency to eschew compromise and go for the greed.’
    horrifying, horrible, horrific, horrendous, dreadful, frightful, fearful, awful, terrible, shocking, appalling, hideous, grim, grisly, ghastly, harrowing, gruesome, heinous, vile, nightmarish, macabre, unspeakable, hair-raising, spine-chilling
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    1. 1.1informal Very unpleasant or disagreeable.
      ‘the teachers at school were horrid’
      ‘a horrid brown color’
      • ‘While the quantity was minimal, it was good quality snow, properly frozen rather than the nasty slushy kind that feels so horrid on the skin.’
      • ‘She was pointing to a grotesque china clock and a horrid vase.’
      • ‘I was wearing the standard graduation robe in a horrid red colour.’
      • ‘They were horrid, smelly, dirty and obstinate things that dominated your life right through every winter, and no-one who doesn't have to would even think of having one.’
      • ‘Most airport bars are horrid places, full of loud gross people using the trip as an excuse for a messy afternoon buzz, or some sweaty solitary types tamping down their fears.’
      • ‘Yes, much of the coffee in America is horrid and/or disgusting, but at least the possibility exists of finding decent coffee in America.’
      • ‘Never be tempted to use hairspray: it looks naff, smells horrid and your date will get an unpleasant surprise if they touch your hair.’
      • ‘‘Behind the bar, it was so smelly and horrid,’ she recalls, nose wrinkling.’
      • ‘It was all he could do to keep from grimacing in disgust at the sight of those horrid yellow-brown teeth.’
      • ‘It would've been terribly immature, and she would've felt horrid about it later, however it would sure make her feel better at the moment.’
      • ‘He might treat with disdain ‘the horrid, sweetish white Zinfandel’, but strangely enough, there are consumers who feel the same way about his favoured vintages.’
      • ‘When I first saw the album, the name conjured all kind of horrid musical possibilities in my mind.’
      • ‘Your distasteful language is almost as horrid as your appearance!’
      • ‘After a horrid, torrid week in which all sorts of colourful allegations have been thrown at the Government, none of it appears to have stuck.’
      • ‘He treated the poor man terribly, and Cedric felt horrid about it.’
      • ‘His experimental jazz recordings were simply horrid, though I recognize that I think that only because I tend to regard the entire genre as horrid.’
      • ‘In other words, I have a horrid feeling that that nasty thing might come back.’
      • ‘Although the appearance of the young man was absolutely horrid, the one blue and one brown eye could never be mistaken.’
      • ‘Also, my apologies for the atrocious spelling and grammar mistakes, they're horrid!’
      • ‘I feel grim and horrid, but it's a cold and I will recover.’
      nasty, horrible, disagreeable, unpleasant, awful, dreadful, terrible, appalling, horrendous, disgusting, foul, revolting, repulsive, repellent, ghastly
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  • 2archaic Rough; bristling.

    • ‘Our caves are not like her castle, and when we pluck fruit from the trees we have nursed so carefully in crevices, away from the wind, we have to climb their rough and horrid trunks.’


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘rough, bristling’): from Latin horridus, from horrere ‘tremble, shudder, (of hair) stand on end’.