Definition of terrible in English:

terrible

adjective

  • 1Extremely or distressingly bad or serious.

    ‘a terrible crime’
    ‘terrible pain’
    ‘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.’
    • ‘All I can remember is the constant terrible pain.’
    • ‘I am, therefore, aware of the terrible effect that serious lung disease can have on an individual and their family.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘Everyone, especially the poor, felt the terrible effects of the famine of 1846 and 1847 with its suffering, death and destruction.’
    • ‘There, amid the danger and terrible conditions, he found a new sense of purpose.’
    • ‘Instead, he thought about Whitney, worried that she was in pain or that terrible things were happening to her.’
    • ‘In the 1950s, chemical weapons, like hydrogen bombs, became symbols of terror that could bring terrible destruction.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In those first, terrible days after the storm and catastrophic flood, the poorest citizens were locked in a desperate struggle for survival.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was in terrible pain and I rang for the ambulance.’
    • ‘We can see a poor man in terrible trouble yet fail to help him.’
    • ‘All her friends pray every day that the British government will bring the perpetrator of this terrible crime to justice.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rarely does television so sensitively and thoughtfully depict the terrible grief and pain of loss, with all its far-reaching and long-lived repercussions.’
    • ‘Some people with terrible disabilities reveal extraordinary qualities, which enrich their own lives and those of people around them.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This terrible tragedy has serious repercussions for animals, too.’
    • ‘We have been sick for nearly three months - headaches, severe neck stiffness and pain, rashes and terrible fatigue.’
    dreadful, awful, appalling, horrific, horrifying, horrible, horrendous, atrocious, abominable, abhorrent, frightful, fearful, shocking, hideous, ghastly, grim, dire, hateful, unspeakable, gruesome, monstrous, sickening, heinous, vile
    severe, extreme, intense, excruciating, agonizing, unbearable, intolerable, unendurable, insufferable
    very bad, dreadful, awful, frightful, atrocious, hopeless, poor, inadequate, inferior, unsatisfactory, laughable, substandard
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Extremely unpleasant or disagreeable.
      ‘the weather was terrible’
      • ‘Do you fear that this is now going to - this terrible, poor taste is going to spread?’
      • ‘This is also not to say that Hollywood films - especially when homogenized into one general category - are terrible and worthless, either.’
      • ‘‘A debacle of poor grammar and terrible jokes’ would probably be more accurate and soon you will realize this.’
      • ‘With a terrible script and poor design and direction, The Hunchback of Notre Dame has rapidly become known as the worst in the Stratford Festival's history.’
      • ‘They plonk on roads and mess up the already terrible traffic system.’
      • ‘If you do spot a moose or two, remember that they are large, wild creatures with terrible eyesight and a nasty disposition.’
      • ‘Drinks were very poor and the service was terrible.’
      • ‘The rather poor line-up and the terrible conditions dissuaded me from returning Sunday.’
      • ‘It's not terrible, but there are two annoying qualities about it.’
      • ‘Poor conditions cause injuries, as do the terrible shoes they wear until they are in shreds.’
      • ‘The already terrible condition of Barcelona's poor had been augmented by a fierce downturn for the textile industry.’
      • ‘Furthermore, most new houses for relocated families are undesirable because of their distant location, poor facilities or terrible environment.’
      • ‘The voice work on the dub is terrible and obnoxious, but the action scenes fare better, with great use of the sub and surrounds.’
      • ‘You'll likely get terrible work - or they'll ask for more money and threaten to walk out if you don't pay up.’
      • ‘Soon the wealthy will look at the poor and notice how terrible their teeth are.’
      • ‘It plays poorly, looks terrible and sounds even worse.’
      • ‘Life at the bottom of society was always difficult in the late medieval and early modern periods: but around 1600 conditions for many of the poor were terrible.’
      • ‘Most restaurants have terrible food for us poor veggies!’
      • ‘These poor are living under terrible conditions.’
      • ‘Both of these scenes look terrible, with very poor video quality, but they are nice to have and were a treat to find.’
    2. 1.2informal [attributive]Used to emphasize the extent of something unpleasant or bad.
      ‘what a terrible mess’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Why would he be selfish enough to kill himself and leave poor Delia with this terrible burden?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘By disguising himself as a mentally retarded person, he was able to experience and expose the terrible discrimination these poor souls must everyday endure.’
      • ‘It can be a particularly painful and unpleasant disease with serious side-effects which can take a terrible toll on quality of life.’
      • ‘On one hand, the film is a terrible mess of plot holes, ridiculous premises, and overacting.’
      • ‘‘He seemed to be filled with terrible hopelessness,’ she writes.’
      • ‘When I moved into my new house, the garden was a terrible mess.’
      • ‘I swallowed hard, trying to take in the sight of my home in such a terrible mess.’
      • ‘His fiancée was accidentally drowned on the very eve of their wedding and Joseph Scriven was plunged into terrible sorrow.’
      • ‘This actually may be happening to some extent with the terrible AIDS pandemic that's occurring in Africa.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Alladi Jayasri writes about Gurudev, who reminds us of the terrible calamities waiting to punish us for our cruelty to Nature.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Last night I put the sauce in the microwave and didn't watch it - it boiled over and made a terrible mess.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The grief of the parents of this poor girl has been terrible.’
    3. 1.3Extremely incompetent or unskillful.
      ‘she is terrible at managing her money’
    4. 1.4[as complement]Extremely unwell or troubled.
      ‘I was sick all night and felt terrible for two solid days’
      ‘Maria felt terrible because she had forgotten the woman's name’
      • ‘"You must have made her feel terrible, " he said.’
      • ‘I paused before answering, feeling terrible and sick to my stomach.’
      • ‘When someone approached and joked that he looked terrible, he smiled.’
      • ‘If you feel that terrible about it, try comparing yourself to yourself.’
      • ‘I looked at Gabriela Szabo after four laps and she looked absolutely terrible.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His face went white, he clutched his chest and the poor guy looked terrible.’
      • ‘I feel pretty terrible; you don't blame it on some poor videographer.’
      • ‘One always feels sort of terrible disagreeing with people who have clearly endured horrors that you have no handle on.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The options were overpriced, unattractive and could make a super model look terrible.’
  • 2Causing or likely to cause terror; sinister.

    ‘the stranger gave a terrible smile’
    • ‘Shuto screamed an ancient battle cry and charged into the night, the only light in the dark the sinister eyes of his terrible adversaries.’
    • ‘Ramirez smiled then, a terrible rictus with more than a hint of malice.’
    • ‘In a world with only one remaining superpower, even small and materially poor states and groups can pose terrible threats.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That terrible smile of his returned slyly, as if he knew precisely what he was doing.’
    • ‘A spooky black lady smiles, nursing something terrible in a parcel.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She turned to Wolf with a terrible little smile.’
    • ‘The dungeon of hell is a terrible but mysterious place.’
    • ‘He smiled a terrible smile and immediately left the room.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Heathcliff was lying on his back, and he met Nelly with a terrible smile!’
    • ‘‘Time to cut the cake,’ said Elaine's father with a terrible forced smile.’
    • ‘But he protested his innocence, and as he rambled on, Hera all the while smiled her terrible smile and stroked my flanks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yet we knew a terrible secret far more sinister than Ray Martin's wig or the little green men at Roswell.’
    • ‘They both have terrible teeth, and consequently terrible, close-lipped smiles.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

terrible

/ˈterəb(ə)l/