ap·​pall·​ing ə-ˈpȯ-liŋ How to pronounce appalling (audio)
: inspiring horror, dismay, or disgust
living under appalling conditions
appalling savagery
appallingly adverb

Examples of appalling in a Sentence

We drove by an appalling accident on the highway. opening your mouth to show me your half-chewed food is absolutely appalling
Recent Examples on the Web There’s no doubt that Trump is a populist, but there’s nothing inherently populist about, say, his appalling conduct after the 2020 election, which had to do with his character flaws, not any political ideology. The Editors, National Review, 8 Sep. 2023 In terms of livability, the Triangle Zone was appalling. Haruki Murakami, The New Yorker, 7 Sep. 2023 Less than an hour in, the first racer waved his boat over and struggled aboard, defeated by the appalling conditions. Jack Dolan, Los Angeles Times, 2 Sep. 2023 Ronald Zepp, a graduate of the school system and grandparent of current students, said the reading of pornographic content at the previous board meeting was appalling, and that the Moms for Liberty group was responsible for exposing children to it. Thomas Goodwin Smith, Baltimore Sun, 15 Aug. 2023 No number of pushy laughs here can make Doug’s mistreatment of Reggie seem anything less than appalling, even if — or especially because — the pooch misguidedly believes his owner adores him, and that Doug’s efforts to lose him are just a fun game. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, 18 Aug. 2023 This punchline was so air quotes appalling that gay viewers could enjoy it without having to fret that straight viewers might get the wrong idea about us. Mark Harris, New York Times, 17 Aug. 2023 And what are our community leaders going to do about the appalling oversight to the county that clearly failed teachers, students and parents? Alexandra Robbins, Washington Post, 14 Aug. 2023 Conditions were appalling, and Wallach evokes them memorably. Dennis Drabelle, Washington Post, 8 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'appalling.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from present participle of appall

First Known Use

1635, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of appalling was in 1635

Dictionary Entries Near appalling

Cite this Entry

“Appalling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: inspiring horror or dismay : shocking
appallingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on appalling

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