atro·​cious | \ ə-ˈtrō-shəs How to pronounce atrocious (audio) \

Definition of atrocious

1 : extremely wicked, brutal, or cruel : barbaric prisoners subjected to atrocious treatment
2 : appalling, horrifying the atrocious weapons of modern war an atrocious accident
3a : utterly revolting : abominable atrocious working conditions atrocious weather
b : of very poor quality atrocious handwriting

Other Words from atrocious

atrociously adverb
atrociousness noun

Examples of atrocious in a Sentence

… much of the manufactured-home industry employed sales practices that were atrocious. The need for meaningful down payments was frequently ignored. Sometimes fakery was involved. Moreover, impossible-to-meet monthly payments were being agreed to by borrowers who signed up because they had nothing to lose. — Warren E. Buffett, Newsweek, 9 Mar. 2009 In the hands of a succession of more or less sadistic colonial governors and prison officers, convicts, particularly repeat offenders, found themselves subjected to atrocious punishments, flogged, committed to chain gangs, kept in underground pits, starved, and bullied. — Caroline Moorehead, New York Review of Books, 16 Nov. 2006 It would seem that by now the Tigers might be weary of analyzing their roller-coaster season, sick of reliving their atrocious 9-23 start and comparing it with their recent hot streak. Sports Illustrated, 4 Sept. 2000 an atrocious period in the nation's history an atrocious crime that shocked even hardened members of the police force
Recent Examples on the Web The Kings’ special teams have been atrocious, for example, with seven of Edmonton’s 21 goals in the series coming on power plays. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2022 The tricky thing about discussing wartime atrocities is that war itself is atrocious. Joel Mathis, The Week, 7 Apr. 2022 What happens when an unstoppable force (Steve Cohen’s wallet) meets an immovable object (the Mets’ atrocious luck). Daniel Kohn, SPIN, 6 Apr. 2022 Michigan wound up with 22 turnovers, along with some atrocious 3-point shooting, but hung around thanks to a massive disparity at the foul line. Dave Skretta, ajc, 29 Mar. 2022 The biggest reason Michigan was able to hang around despite 22 turnovers and atrocious 3-point shooting was a massive disparity at the foul line. Fox News, 29 Mar. 2022 These cases cast another shadow over Hertz, which risks becoming synonymous with atrocious customer service for other reasons. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 14 Mar. 2022 And ongoing ethical questions around holding the games in China at a time of atrocious human rights violations by Beijing has made many in the U.S. disinclined to watch. Jeva Lange, The Week, 3 Feb. 2022 For example, take Ramona Singer, fresh off a uniquely atrocious run on RHONY. Shamira Ibrahim, Vulture, 9 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'atrocious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of atrocious

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for atrocious

Latin atroc-, atrox gloomy, atrocious, from atr-, ater black + -oc-, -ox (akin to Greek ōps eye) — more at eye

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Time Traveler for atrocious

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The first known use of atrocious was in 1604

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Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Atrocious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for atrocious


atro·​cious | \ ə-ˈtrō-shəs How to pronounce atrocious (audio) \

Kids Definition of atrocious

1 : extremely brutal, cruel, or wicked an atrocious crime
2 : very bad atrocious weather atrocious manners

Other Words from atrocious

atrociously adverb behaved atrociously


atro·​cious | \ ə-ˈtrō-shəs How to pronounce atrocious (audio) \

Legal Definition of atrocious

: characterized by extreme cruelty or viciousness atrocious assault and battery

More from Merriam-Webster on atrocious

Nglish: Translation of atrocious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of atrocious for Arabic Speakers


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