bad·​ly | \ ˈbad-lē \

Definition of badly

1 : in a bad manner played badly
2 : to a great or intense degree want something badly
badly off for
: strongly in need of (something or someone) It may seem pie in the sky in the current financial climate, but few could argue that for a city of its size and prestige, Edinburgh is badly off for large-scale sports facilities.The Evening News (Edinburgh)
not badly
: fairly or acceptably well The economy is doing not badly and looks even better than it really is.— Tom Teepen
think badly of
: to have an unfavorable or low opinion of (someone or something) "You shouldn't think badly of the town because of this," said Brogan. "It is a good town."— Neil Gaiman

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Examples of badly in a Sentence

He played badly but I played even worse. The failure reflects badly on the administration. She wanted the job badly. I'm badly in need of a vacation. His fingers were badly frozen.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The sheriff’s office has denied that Zachary Cruz, who attended his brother’s hearing Tuesday, was badly treated. Curt Anderson, The Seattle Times, "Prosecutors want trial date in Florida school shooting," 8 Jan. 2019 ABC News Black people also complain that they’re treated badly while shopping or dining out. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Racial slurs and fat-shaming insults keep popping up on receipts. Is Trump worsening the trend?," 29 Oct. 2018 The humanities used to be disregarded and science was on a pedestal and now the science is being treated just as badly! Christopher Borrelli,, "Our summer of fear: A conversation with Chicago philosopher Martha Nussbaum," 9 July 2018 Lee’s employees are being harassed and treated badly over some hearsay. Alison Montoya,, "Why protesters lined up outside Lee's Famous Chicken," 25 June 2018 But much of it, though different from popular habits in detail, does seem to fit the same broad logic: treat the child so badly that its fairy parents will reverse the switch. Longreads, "Fairy Scapegoats: A History of the Persecution of Changeling Children," 9 June 2018 Its Irish rival, in contrast, is often pilloried for treating its staff badly by western European norms to save money. The Economist, "A Hungarian startup could beat Ryanair at its own low-cost game," 31 May 2018 Others had been too badly degraded over the centuries to stand out in satellite photos. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Satellites watch over the graves of ancient steppe nomads," 26 Dec. 2018 In the great and terrible wilderness of history, countless millions have died badly, died foolishly, died without funerals or eulogies or gravestones. Laura Hudson, The Verge, "Why Return of the Obra Dinn is my game of the year," 21 Dec. 2018

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

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First Known Use of badly

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near badly

bad loan

bad lot

bad luck


badly off



Statistics for badly

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for badly

The first known use of badly was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for badly



English Language Learners Definition of badly

: in a bad manner

: very much : to a great degree

: severely or seriously


bad·​ly | \ ˈbad-lē \
worse\ ˈwərs \; worst\ ˈwərst \

Kids Definition of badly

1 : in a bad manner He behaved badly.
2 : very much I badly wanted to win.

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More from Merriam-Webster on badly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with badly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for badly

Spanish Central: Translation of badly

Nglish: Translation of badly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of badly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on badly

What made you want to look up badly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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