bad

1 of 3

adjective

worse ˈwərs How to pronounce bad (audio) ; worst ˈwərst How to pronounce bad (audio)
1
a
: failing to reach an acceptable standard : poor
a bad repair job
b
: unfavorable
make a bad impression
c
: not fresh : spoiled
bad fish
d
: not sound : dilapidated
the house was in bad condition
2
a
: morally objectionable : evil
bad men
b
: mischievous, disobedient
a bad dog
3
: inadequate or unsuited to a purpose
a bad plan
bad lighting
4
: disagreeable, unpleasant
bad news
5
a
: injurious, harmful
a bad influence
b
: serious, severe
in bad trouble
a bad cough
6
: incorrect, faulty
bad grammar
7
a
: suffering pain or distress
felt generally bad
b
: unhealthy, diseased
bad teeth
8
: sorrowful, sorry
feels bad about forgetting to call
9
a
: invalid, void
a bad check
b
: not able to be collected
a bad debt
10
badder; baddest slang
a
: good, great
one of the baddest songwriters to be found anywhere Black Collegian
b
: tough, mean
the baddest guy on the block
badness noun

bad

2 of 3

noun

1
: something that is bad
There's more good than bad in him.
Take the good with the bad.
2
: an evil or unhappy state
Things went from bad to worse.
3
: fault sense 2
the mistake was my bad

bad

3 of 3

adverb

: badly
not doing so bad
doesn't want it bad enough
Phrases
not bad
: fairly or acceptably good
She eyes the other girls' clothes. A bright orange skirt. Good. A black cocktail dress with a gold belt. Not bad. A white dress with a blousy, frilly top. Hideous. Karl Taro Greenfeld
: quite good or impressive
For the second time in three games, Patrick Roy blanked the Dallas Stars. Not bad for a player who insists he is not a shutout goalie. The New York Times

Example Sentences

Adjective The house is in bad condition. a letter written in bad French He had a bad day at the office. I was having a bad dream. She made a very bad impression on her future colleagues. We've been having bad weather lately. The medicine left a bad taste in his mouth. It's a bad time for business right now. Things are looking pretty bad for us at this point. I have a bad feeling about this. Noun There's more good than bad in him. We need to teach our children the difference between good and bad. teaching children the difference between the good and the bad He believes that the good go to heaven when they die and the bad go to hell. Adverb He hasn't succeeded because he doesn't want it bad enough. you didn't do too bad on the treadmill test See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
While Alabama’s receivers are up-and-down, Auburn’s have been just plain bad, though part of the problem rests with below-average quarterback play. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 22 Nov. 2022 RSVs normally like in February, and it's already been bad for at least a month. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 22 Nov. 2022 The bracket for the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas isn't bad, either. John Marshall, ajc, 22 Nov. 2022 The NFC South is bad, so that's good for the Saints' playoff chances. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 21 Nov. 2022 And there’s a single drumbeat driving his work: things are bad, the badness is out there, and, sorry to say, the badness is getting closer. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2022 Too much of anything can be bad for you, but there's no need to kick styles like ponytails and buns to the curb for good. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, 21 Nov. 2022 And everybody comments on just how bad the singer is tonight. Donna Bowman, Chron, 20 Nov. 2022 An easy way to secure this badge is to avoid fast fashion brands, whose garments are often made with synthetic materials that are bad for the environment. Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2022
Noun
Quantumania stars Evangeline Lilly as Hope, Kathryn Newton as Cassie, and Jonathan Majors as Kang, the MCU's new big bad who was introduced last year in Loki. Clark Collis, EW.com, 24 Oct. 2022 Emma Caulfield will reprise her role as Dottie, the neighbor to Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda that some audiences theorized would be the big bad of WandaVision. Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Oct. 2022 Up until this point, the show had led viewers to believe that the big bad was Doomsday, the beast who famously killed Superman in the comics. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, 26 Jan. 2022 And yet, no, Savathun is not the big bad of the entire Destiny franchise. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 8 Sep. 2021 Wanda and Captain Marvel, the only other female Avenger to helm her own property so far, are the two members of the team who could have defeated the big bad of the last two Avengers films, Thanos. New York Times, 11 Mar. 2021 The accidental bumps and sorrys and quiet my bads create a low hum as the group finds its rhythm behind Jaydon. Adam Harris, The Atlantic, 29 Aug. 2019 And the true halfway point of Mr. Robot would’ve come sometime during S3, which ends by finally putting Elliot in direct odds with big bads White Rose and the Dark Army. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, 14 Dec. 2017 Some good news to buffer the bad: Andreas Athanasiou will practice with the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday, and could be in the lineup this trip. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, 25 Oct. 2017
Adverb
After an online Twitter feud where CZ accused SBF of allegedly bad-mouthing him to regulators, the Binance CEO announced on Sunday the company would be dumping all of its holdings of FTT, a token used by FTX customers. Tristan Bove, Fortune, 11 Nov. 2022 Also, if exposed to too much heat, humidity, or other elements, the gummies can go bad faster than the expiration date. Laxmi Corp, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Sep. 2022 Kids get a lot of their confidence and sense of self-worth from their families — thus the emphasis on parents’ not bad-mouthing each other. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 29 Aug. 2022 And so all those businesses on the way into Yosemite on the south are hurting pretty bad. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 18 July 2022 The parents of the Oxford school shooting suspect have reached their limit with the prosecutor and are asking a judge to sanction her for allegedly ignoring their requests to stop bad-mouthing them and calling them liars. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, 21 June 2022 The Fed’s bad-tasting medicine may slow it down eventually, but the medicine takes some time to work. John Dorfman, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 Drake got this man down bad after responding to a troll’s comment about his son Adonis…. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, 4 May 2022 According to the Times, in 2018 Barbara Ledeen, a Republican Senate aide who had reportedly developed Groundswell’s enemies list with Ginni Thomas, participated in a plot to oust McMaster by secretly taping him bad-mouthing Trump. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 21 Jan. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English badde, bad, of obscure origin

Note: The Middle English word apparently appears as a surname or element in surnames in the 13th century, but as an independent adjective not before the 14th century. The supposed connection with the marginally attested Old English words bæddel, bædling (vowel length uncertain) "hermaphrodite, homosexual" is possible but uncertain (direct descent of badde from bæddel through phonetic reduction is unlikely).

Noun

Middle English badde, noun derivative of badde bad entry 1

Adverb

adverbial derivative of bad entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1c

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1c

Adverb

1575, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bad was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near bad

Cite this Entry

“Bad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bad. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

bad 1 of 3

adjective

worse ˈwərs How to pronounce bad (audio) ; worst ˈwərst How to pronounce bad (audio)
1
a
: below standard : poor
b
: not favorable
a bad impression
c
: rotten sense 1
bad meat
2
: not good or right : morally evil or wrong
a bad person
bad behavior
3
: not enough
bad lighting
4
5
a
: harmful
bad for the health
b
: severe sense 3
a bad cold
6
: incorrect, faulty
bad spelling
7
8
: sorrowful sense 1, sorry
don't feel bad about losing
badness noun

bad

2 of 3

noun

1
: a bad thing or part
take the bad with the good
2
: a bad or unhappy state
go to the bad

bad

3 of 3

adverb

: badly
not doing so bad

Legal Definition

bad

adjective

: not valid : void
bad notice
especially : not covered by sufficient funds
a bad check

More from Merriam-Webster on bad

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