Definition of worse in English:



  • 1Of poorer quality or lower standard; less good or desirable.

    ‘the accommodation was awful and the food was worse’
    ‘I'm becoming a worse footballer every week’
    • ‘Leigh couldn't have made a worse start, leaking two tries in the opening four minutes after conceding cheap yards from successive penalties.’
    • ‘Increased fuel prices couldn't come at a worse time for the domestic industry with competition in the local market about to hot up.’
    • ‘Frankly, I can't see any evidence that suggests that Costello will do a better job than Howard - or a worse job.’
    • ‘John Lithgow has never been worse in his cartoonish and buffoonish role as the evil toymaker.’
    • ‘The unfortunate result was that students began buying cheaper heaters of worse quality from vendors.’
    • ‘There are examples of far worse psychology research.’
    • ‘Her voice was deep and low and she spoke even worse English than I do.’
    • ‘The underlying theme was that while the province is strapped for cash, there are other regions in the country that are in worse shape.’
    • ‘Women living in states with high income inequality were somewhat more likely to report worse mental and physical health.’
    • ‘However if the pain is severe, or if your eyesight gets worse, you should contact your consultant straightway.’
    • ‘Only Basildon and Thurrock General had a worse record than the Royal Bolton Hospital, according to the Department of Health.’
    • ‘They have set out to reassure members of the public, police officers and community leaders that any change will not leave the county in a worse position.’
    • ‘I have an ABC friend who speaks much worse Chinese than me, but nobody pushes her to switch to English when they talk with her.’
    • ‘Vettori has a worse average and strike rate than the others.’
    • ‘What was more shocking, however, was the fakeness of it all, like a 1980s revival show but with even worse tunes.’
    • ‘As time went on, these cartoons got even worse and eventually collapsed with the folding of the company.’
    • ‘Two weeks in a cold snowy environment had made my joints dramatically worse, so I arrived back feeling very despondent.’
    • ‘She had a friend who was abandoned at birth, a foundling, and she began to realise that abandoned children were in a far worse position than adopted ones.’
    • ‘It is hard to think of a worse time to float an airline.’
    • ‘We have worse water quality now due to erosion and other forest products are hard to get, such as palm leaf for roofing.’
    1. 1.1More serious or severe.
      ‘the movement made the pain worse’
      • ‘The prognosis is worse when severe preeclampsia develops during the second trimester.’
      • ‘This means water will get to the Ouse much quicker and would make floods far worse and more common then they are now.’
      • ‘But as with high blood pressure, the damage is usually worse and more rapid when you have diabetes.’
      • ‘Bangalore has definitely been hit by worse monsoons before but never has there been such severe water logging.’
      • ‘Corruption is getting worse thanks to the regional autonomy which allows officials in provinces to enrich themselves.’
      • ‘A new road to improve safety and traffic flow on the A12 could lead to worse traffic in Hatfield Peverel, a public inquiry was told.’
      • ‘At times, sheer luck has prevented worse potential losses.’
      • ‘Anest's mouth had gone dry at hearing her words, and a far worse dread than any he had ever known clutched at his heart.’
      • ‘So it is reasonable to conclude that we face a problem that is severe, chronic, and likely to become worse over time.’
      • ‘If it passes, the state could one day wind up in worse financial straits as a result.’
      • ‘But the heroin problem, the underlying source of serious crime, is getting worse.’
      • ‘53 per cent thought that street crime had got worse in the past six months.’
      • ‘But councillors have warned the building would fall into a worse state of disrepair if talks with the current developer fell through.’
      • ‘This plunged him into another severe depression, far worse than what he had before.’
      • ‘The behavior you describe is a classic precursor for even worse emotional abuse and could possibly turn violent.’
      • ‘Steve said: ‘We thought it was going to be a far worse delay, something like four hours.’’
      • ‘Why do government officials continually say that crime is coming down when officially crime is on the increase and getting worse all the time?’
      • ‘Individuals with this form of neuropathy experience severe, relentless leg pain that is worse at night.’
      • ‘And this may persist for some time, until the symptoms become worse and finally then someone does look at them.’
      • ‘As the next five years passed, his back pain gradually got worse and eventually spinal canal stenosis was diagnosed.’
    2. 1.2More reprehensible or evil.
      ‘it is worse to intend harm than to be indifferent’
      • ‘Sorry, but that it is just vigilante insanity that is as bad as, or as in this case, worse than the original crime.’
      • ‘There are some records that are just evil, and this is worse than most of them.’
      • ‘Many postmoderns actually think it is worse to judge evil than to do evil.’
      • ‘Is missing a rare diagnosis so much worse than harm from over-testing?’
      • ‘The claim that doing harm is no worse than allowing harm flies in the face of powerful intuitions to the contrary.’
      • ‘There are, according to the American Defense Secretary himself, worse, much worse obscene cruelties, to be revealed.’
      • ‘Please do not make things worse by doing this, it only harms the individual involved more and unkind words can scar quite deeply.’
      • ‘It's worse than appalling, and I intend taking it to the highest court.’
      • ‘We all want to minimize the impact on the innocent, but losing to evil in order to avoid hitting a population is worse.’
      • ‘Then I saw the cop fly past me and realized the young man was fleeing from a crime worse than not wearing a helmet or running a red light.’
      • ‘An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded.’
      • ‘There is one thing that is worse than evil and that is cowardice in the face of it.’
      • ‘Morally, Orwell must surely have had to weigh up whether the potential damage he could cause to those individuals was worse than the harm they might do.’
      • ‘Failing to take responsibility for the harm that one has caused to others is even worse.’
      • ‘But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil.’
      • ‘The existence of other tyrants, worse or not, is no defence.’
      • ‘Does this mean that using recreational drugs in your private life is worse than attacking and causing harm to another person?’
      • ‘Generally, we hold that there's no crime worse than murder, and we punish it more harshly than we do anything else.’
      • ‘Filthy, horrible acts of evil, worse than what he had ever done, were being performed across Faerie.’
      • ‘Forgivable, in the loosest meaning of the word; after all, ladies of our acquaintance have committed worse crimes.’
  • 2[predicative or as complement] More ill or unhappy.

    ‘he felt worse, and groped his way back to bed’
    • ‘Debbie's sad smile made her only sibling feel worse, not her original intention.’
    • ‘She didn't want them to feel worse than they already did, so she just resorted to weeping quietly.’
    • ‘But what made her feel worse was that no one on the team said anything to blame her.’
    • ‘Yet it was an unhappy household, made worse by hints of Behrman's mania to come.’
    • ‘She asked me I sighed sometime parents could make you feel worse then you already did with out even knowing it.’
    • ‘Comments like this makes your child feel even worse than she does already for failing at something.’
    • ‘Knowing that he felt so bad about it made me feel good, to tell you the truth, so there was no point in making him feel worse than he already did.’
    • ‘She had a vague feeling that if she heard what he had to say, she would end up feeling even worse than she already was.’
    • ‘It made him feel as if he was ten times worse than he already was.’
    • ‘She didn't mean to be disparaging, which only made me feel worse.’
    • ‘He soon dumped her as she continued to make him feel worse everyday they continued their relationship.’
    • ‘His remarks made me feel even worse than I already did, and also unimaginably ancient.’
    • ‘Prisoners, he conceded, often felt worse for the experience, feeling degraded and punished.’
    • ‘But as we drove back to town, you could tell that nothing we could say would make him feel any worse than he already did.’
    • ‘However, Brian Martin, from Glasgow, claims his operation made his left eye worse and left the vision in his right eye blurred.’


  • 1Less well or skilfully.

    ‘the more famous I became the worse I painted’
    • ‘Blogs of War omits the proverbial best thing about McDonalds: there are always some brats there worse behaved than your own.’
    • ‘Residents fear such a cut would leave officers worse equipped to fight crime in the town.’
    • ‘I certainly don't think these they're worse equipped than people who've undergone conventional schooling.’
    • ‘We could do a lot worse than this already impressive young man.’
    • ‘The island state's economy already did much worse than expected in the latest quarter.’
    • ‘He could do worse than refer the curious to Rebecca Tyrrel's book.’
    • ‘I'll say this: crowds at the Arts Cinema are noticeably worse behaved than at the Warner Village multiplex.’
    • ‘Children of divorced parents are much more likely to do worse at school, commit crime, go to prison, and more likely to commit suicide.’
    1. 1.1More seriously or severely.
      ‘the others had been drunk too, worse than herself’
      • ‘More worryingly, JLP thinks that its Edinburgh store will be even worse hit than in London.’
      • ‘At this point, Kohaku's stomach had already began hurting far worse than Muteki's.’
      • ‘Also, if one area is worse affected than others, extra gritting machines could be called in to help.’
      • ‘Certainly you're not going to treat a victim worse than you would somebody charged with a crime.’


  • 1[mass noun] A more serious or unpleasant event or situation.

    ‘the small department was already stretched to the limit, but worse was to follow’
    • ‘I felt like offering condolences, except the commish has already been through worse.’
    • ‘That way I could be pretty sure I would walk away with not much worse than a severe shaking.’
    • ‘A steep increase in health costs is already underway and worse is yet to come.’
    • ‘They talked with him about what happened in the cafeteria but Mike just said that he'd had worse and left it at that.’
    • ‘If Angelo thought this an unhappy day, worse was in store for him.’
    1. 1.1A less good, favourable, or pleasant condition.
      ‘the weather changed for the worse’
      • ‘First of all we tipped off the hacks that things were taking a turn for the worse and then - miracle of miracles - Jack pulled it off.’
      • ‘However, it is perhaps Tesco's approach that will be found to be the more resilient should economic conditions take a turn for the worse.’
      • ‘In all, the lower you are in a social hierarchy, the worse your health and the shorter your life are likely to be.’
      • ‘His attitude had taken a turn for the worse when he had been possessed by evil spirits, but he was hardly a boy scout beforehand.’
      • ‘David O'Leary's unhappy season took another turn for the worse yesterday.’
      • ‘The first lesson to draw from the study is that the longer the children were exposed to deprivation, the worse was their adjustment.’
      • ‘Every mission takes a turn for the worse and then does it again.’
      • ‘She said her mental condition later took a turn for the worse when she ended up in and out of a local psychiatric hospital.’
      • ‘She took a turn for the worse last night and I'm scared she's not going to see out the weekend.’
      • ‘Yet, when Kevin's condition took a turn for the worse, she thought her heart would stop at the thought of losing him.’
      • ‘She believes his condition took a turn for the worse in early 2002 when father refused to give Rodney his medication.’
      • ‘But his condition quickly took a turn for the worse and his frightened parents called an ambulance.’
      • ‘As long as these two elements exist, not voting will not change the present condition for the worse.’
      • ‘Participants also rated how much these areas of disagreement had changed for the worse.’
      • ‘The weather had changed very much for the worse and, in horrible conditions, fishing was much tougher.’
      • ‘That's what makes it all the worse, to have to descend back into, for lack of a metaphor, hell.’
      • ‘The cold spell took a turn for the worse at the weekend with roads in a very dangerous condition and very little sign of gritting.’
      • ‘What looks like a pleasant set-up quickly takes a turn for the worse as soon as you make your player selections.’
      • ‘The more we open up our borders to imports, the worse our trade deficit gets.’
      • ‘PS, sorry to hear Croxy's condition has taken a slight turn for the worse.’


  • none the worse for

    • Not adversely affected by.

      ‘we were none the worse for our terrible experience’
      • ‘Apart from the long hair and beard, he was none the worse for this prolonged sojourn in the land of dreams.’
      • ‘The Jones family anguish turned to unbridled joy early last Wednesday morning when Conor arrived home none the worse for his ordeal after spending over a week sleeping rough.’
      • ‘Alan began raising the animal, and it was soon safely back on the surface, seemingly none the worse for its rapid descent of the hole.’
      • ‘The three-year-old bay son of Danehill was on the first of the big rigs to be unloaded and appeared none the worse for his international flight into Chicago and his road trip to Arlington in rush-hour traffic.’
      • ‘Finally I managed a smooth getaway and went in to shop, none the worse for the encounter and thinking about how much D.J. looks like her Mama except for that red hair.’
      • ‘By the time he came back, mugs in hand, I was done, and he was none the worse for not knowing.’
      • ‘We have a full health and safety team in the studio and she was given immediate attention, but was none the worse for what happened.’
      • ‘He takes the harder route, and is none the worse for it.’
      • ‘Yet here was I, having lost at least a third of my skin, and apparently none the worse for it.’
      • ‘My trouser was torn and I had to go home and change into another suit,’ said Ring who was none the worse for the experience.’
  • or worse

    • Used to suggest an unspecified possibility that is more serious or unpleasant than one already considered.

      ‘the child might be born blind or worse’
      • ‘Needless to say, it may have led to a number of people being seriously hurt or even worse.’
      • ‘A very narrow margin might in the future give rise to tension, bitterness, or worse.’
      • ‘All this uneven, hoof-holed ground makes it very easy to twist an ankle, or worse.’
      • ‘Such opportunities are occasionally used as a precursor for stalking or worse.’
      • ‘I tried to counsel him that he might only get what everyone else gets or worse.’
      • ‘The next step would be to arm himself with a gun and flaunt it in front of the police, or worse.’
      • ‘For instance, who is going to challenge them and risk having windows broken - or worse?’
      • ‘For those without decent jobs, it seems a huge waste of effort or worse.’
      • ‘He might be hauled before the courts and given a telling off, or worse.’
      • ‘Better to tackle it now rather than wait until someone has been injured or worse.’
  • so much the worse for ——

    • Used to suggest that an unfortunate event or situation is the fault of the person specified and that the speaker does not feel any great concern about it.

      ‘if they were daft enough to believe it, so much the worse for them’
      • ‘If they don't know he's sinister, so much the worse for them.’
      • ‘Each must act as he thinks best; and if he is wrong, so much the worse for him.’
      • ‘Plato regarded the world of pure mathematical ideas as alone worthy of study; if physical objects did not conform to it, so much the worse for them, because they were defective and imperfect anyway.’
      • ‘And if the only argument traditionalists can offer against such a relationship is that longstanding tradition prohibits it, so much the worse for traditionalists.’
      • ‘The important thought to hold onto here is that ethical claims cannot be empirically verified, but that this is so much the worse for empirical verification.’
      • ‘If some psychological theories (of language, of vision) postulate an unconscious so deeply buried that its mental representations cannot even potentially become conscious, so much the worse for those theories.’
      • ‘We even adopted unilateral free trade towards those countries who, so much the worse for them, persisted with their own protectionism.’
      • ‘So if a way of morally assessing acts is likely to lead to bad decisions, or more generally lead to bad consequences, then, according to a consequentialist point of view, so much the worse for that way of assessing acts.’
      • ‘If the government cannot punish those they believe deserve punishment within the current bounds, then so much the worse for the government.’
      • ‘If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations - then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations.’
  • the worse for drink

    • Rather drunk.

      ‘he was somewhat the worse for drink at his farewell party’
      • ‘I understand that it was a particularly cold night and you went to the club at 9.30 pm and emerged, clearly the worse for drink, five hours later at 2.20 am.’
      • ‘She said he did not seem the worse for drink when they left the bar.’
      • ‘‘The mascot appeared the worse for drink,’ said a spokesman.’
      • ‘I've nothing against proper big communal firework displays, run by specialists, but recreational explosives in the hands of amateurs, many of them the worse for drink, that's something I'd ban if I had the power.’
      • ‘Friends of Mr Sprout said he had enjoyed a night out on Saturday and was the worse for drink, which might account for his fall.’
      • ‘Margaret Lamb, the senior youth worker at the Southbroom Centre, said 13 and 14-year-old girls were turning up at the club at 7.30 pm on a Friday already the worse for drink.’
      • ‘He was a commanding figure, though often the worse for drink, which made him quarrelsome.’
      • ‘A girl staggers by on stiletto heels; she is either the worse for drink or still a novice clubber and either way her prospects for the rest of the evening don't look good.’
      • ‘My friend, a little the worse for drink, walked straight up to him, performed an exaggerated bow, and exclaimed: ‘Mr John Peel!’’
      • ‘The fact that, no matter how it was, is or will be dressed up, there were literally thousands of ‘fans’ there without tickets trying to get into the ground, many of whom were the worse for drink.’
  • the worse for wear

    • 1informal In a poor condition; worn or shabby.

      ‘the plane had been kept outside the motel for 30 years and was beginning to look the worse for wear’
      • ‘It now consisted of two rooms and a kitchen with a rather forlorn looking hotplate that looked the worse for wear.’
      • ‘In the end, though, the truck didn't appear to be much the worse for wear, and they drove it away.’
      • ‘In fact the Finuge pitch, despite the best efforts of the committee, looked the worse for wear after the summer deluge and was not suitable for such an important fixture.’
      • ‘The living-room is somewhat the worse for wear, with a threadbare dark red carpet.’
      • ‘The same thing with the condition of this guy's coat - he looked like he'd probably seen a fight or two, but didn't look the worse for wear because of it.’
      • ‘It is rather the worse for wear, very grainy with pronounced film defects.’
      • ‘The paint seemed to be rather the worse for wear, her thick mascara tracing black lines down her thin cheeks with the tears that she seemed to be unable to stop.’
      • ‘Plus, it looks amazing, a Gothic monstrosity the worse for wear after years of decay and gutting by fire.’
      • ‘Most of these filled baskets looked a little the worse for wear but there were a couple that were in reasonable condition.’
      • ‘The bear had obviously been well-loved by a previous owner and was somewhat the worse for wear.’
      shabby, run down, worn out, falling to pieces, falling apart, dilapidated, rickety, ramshackle, crumbling, decayed, antiquated, superannuated, decrepit, on its last legs, battered
      untidy, unkempt, bedraggled, messy, dishevelled, ungroomed, ill-groomed
      View synonyms
    • 2informal Feeling rather unwell, especially as a result of drinking too much alcohol.

      ‘we had a bad trip, and he emerged from his cabin looking the worse for wear’
      • ‘Checking the following evening, she was still the worse for wear, but said she had only consumed three glasses of wine, remembering nothing of the remaining evening, including how she got home.’
      • ‘As a rule, sailors who are the worse for wear for drink won't face charges - providing their actions do not harm other sailors or civilians.’
      • ‘As licensees we don't accept the blame for violent thugs who run riot anywhere because if, in our opinion, we feel someone in our pubs is the worse for wear because of drink then we refuse to serve them.’
      • ‘Quite often he'd be drunk and rather the worse for wear.’
      • ‘McDonald said she was ‘near-speechless with indignation and anger’ at implications by the police that she had been the worse for wear after drinking.’
      • ‘I got the bus at Clapham Common, and three young Australian women got on, rather the worse for wear, one of them with a Smirnoff Ice in her hand.’
      • ‘Investigations revealed he was a regular hash user and on this occasion was feeling particularly the worse for wear because he had been drinking heavily the night before.’
      • ‘He was not in good physical shape and tended to be rather the worse for wear after lunch.’
      • ‘When I checked on her condition the next day she was still the worse for wear, but said she had only consumed three glasses of wine before remembering nothing of the remaining evening, including how she got home.’
      • ‘On match days, both pubs will be brimming over with fans, many the worse for wear from alcohol.’
      intoxicated, inebriated, drunken, befuddled, incapable, tipsy, the worse for drink, under the influence, maudlin
      View synonyms
  • worse luck

    • informal Used to express regret about something.

      ‘I have to go to secretarial school, worse luck’
      • ‘To be sure he's dead, worse luck for him.’
      • ‘We've even served under a female Prime Minister, worse luck!’
      • ‘The next hardware store I eventually found didn't have any gates either, worse luck.’
      • ‘Maybe even two, worse luck, because the quantity is astonishing.’
      • ‘No-one was sent down to tuck me in, worse luck, but I do feel a bit better.’
      • ‘And worse luck if he's supposed to be on Guard duty!’
      • ‘Tickets will be like gold-dust, worse luck.’
      • ‘And worse luck, I had managed to leave Sweet William intact!’
      • ‘We'd been hoping to catch the sunset but were slightly too late, worse luck… however, seeing Sydney by night more than made up for it.’
      • ‘I have to say that the airline, Lan Chile, did get its computer to acknowledge me on the way back, all the way from Buenos Aires to Sydney, worse luck.’
      unluckily, sadly, regrettably, unhappily, woefully, lamentably, alas, sad to say, sad to relate
      View synonyms
  • worse off

    • In a less advantageous position; less fortunate or prosperous.

      ‘her job was not very enjoyable, but plenty of people were worse off’
      ‘the average family will be £8 worse off in tax’
      • ‘Under the proposals the majority of police officers are going to be worse off and that is obviously not acceptable.’
      • ‘In general the older people are, the more likely they are to say they are worse off, and to feel angrier.’
      • ‘But those who fled their villages have left behind people who are even worse off.’
      • ‘They argue that the gap between rich and poor has widened and we are worse off than a decade ago.’
      • ‘We remain opposed to any proposal to increase the state pension age that would make manual workers and the poor worse off.’
      • ‘It reminds us that almost certainly any policy change will make someone worse off.’
      • ‘It's pretty common knowledge that there's always somebody worse off than you.’
      • ‘In other words if people had the freedom to do what they wanted, overall they would be worse off, and some very much worse off.’
      • ‘If customers maximise the service to reduce their mortgage balances, they could still end up worse off.’
      • ‘A couple with five sons say they are going to be worse off under the new tax credits system - if they ever get any money.’


Old English wyrsa, wiersa (adjective), wiers (adverb), of Germanic origin; related to war.