atrocious

adjective

atro·​cious ə-ˈtrō-shəs How to pronounce atrocious (audio)
1
: extremely wicked, brutal, or cruel : barbaric
prisoners subjected to atrocious treatment
2
: appalling, horrifying
the atrocious weapons of modern war
an atrocious accident
3
a
: utterly revolting : abominable
atrocious working conditions
atrocious weather
b
: of very poor quality
atrocious handwriting
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 Collectively, our manners are atrocious right now, at least judging from the spike in mail from frustrated hosts. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2024 One viewpoint is that this is an unwanted and atrocious intrusion into the sacrosanct doctor-patient relationship. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 Filled with atrocious dialogue, awkward editing, & all around laughable structure. James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Feb. 2024 The example his behavior has set for your boys is atrocious. Jeanne Phillips, The Mercury News, 8 Feb. 2024 Five years later, an atrocious attack on an army-run school in Peshawar killed over 130 people, mostly children. Aqil Shah, Foreign Affairs, 9 Jan. 2024 Calling attention to the atrocious conditions in Whitechapel, the Ripper murders inspired a surge of social activism. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 18 Jan. 2024 And, with the 2024 presidential election on the horizon, only a fool would think such atrocious manipulations are not going to be repeated by the Left’s accomplices in the media. Christopher Tremoglie, Washington Examiner, 11 Jan. 2024 We too are appalled and disturbed by this atrocious violent crime and our heart and deepest sympathy go out to all involved. Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 16 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of atrocious was in 1604

Dictionary Entries Near atrocious

Cite this Entry

“Atrocious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atrocious. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

atrocious

adjective
atro·​cious ə-ˈtrō-shəs How to pronounce atrocious (audio)
1
: savagely wicked, brutal, or cruel
2
: very bad
atrocious weather
atrociously adverb
atrociousness noun

Legal Definition

atrocious

adjective
atro·​cious ə-ˈtrō-shəs How to pronounce atrocious (audio)
: characterized by extreme cruelty or viciousness
atrocious assault and battery

More from Merriam-Webster on atrocious

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!