bad·​ly | \ ˈbad-lē How to pronounce badly (audio) \

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

Kuznetsov badly needs to complete an ongoing refit to remain viable. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia’s Beleaguered Aircraft Carrier Could Be Scrapped If New Repair Yard Can’t Be Found," 9 Apr. 2019 At one point, I was beaten so badly that jail staff had to give me opioids for my injuries. Sarah Gad, Marie Claire, "My Drug Overdose Saved My Life. Now I'm Saving Others.," 15 Mar. 2019 But years of neglect left it in the same place as much of the nation—badly needing repairs. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Oroville Dam Almost Flooded Northern California. Now It's Working Again.," 3 Apr. 2019 And while much of the lookbook is dominated by well-dressed, badly behaved humans, the tech mistakes of Google Street View are part of the twisted fun, too. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "How Rihanna’s Footwear Designer Created the Creepiest Lookbook Of The Year," 16 July 2018 The Olympic was able to limp back to port, badly wounded. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Wild Conspiracy That the Titanic Never Sank," 27 Feb. 2019 Claire feels badly about her role in making money off the animals, and now works wit the Dinosaur Protection Group to try to save them. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' gets off the island," 20 June 2018 Another issue that came up recently was Fudge writing a 2015 letter in support of former Ohio judge Lance Mason, who was sentenced in 2014 after beating his wife badly. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Ohio Democrat Marcia Fudge will not challenge Nancy Pelosi," 21 Nov. 2018 The child was so badly beaten by her Texas foster father, she was left blind, brain-damaged and quadriplegic and because of that, the state last week agreed to pay $19.3 million to settle a 2017 lawsuit filed on her behalf. Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "Washington state pays $19 million to settle abuse case that left child paralyzed and blind," 26 Oct. 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

22 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for badly

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

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English Language Learners Definition of badly

: in a bad manner
: very much : to a great degree
: severely or seriously


bad·​ly | \ ˈbad-lē How to pronounce badly (audio) \
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 affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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