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 Ehsan needs a victory badly on Saturday against North Texas to right this season. Joseph Goodman |, al, "UAB basketball coach Rob Ehsan nears troubling record," 7 Feb. 2020 Foster badly wanted to see the Shintech plant built. Sara Sneath, ProPublica, "How Louisiana Lawmakers Stop Residents’ Efforts to Fight Big Oil and Gas," 7 Feb. 2020 Leading 20-17 with about six minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Niners badly needed to string together some first downs and burn the clock, but instead went three-and-out and gave the ball right back to the Chiefs. Ben Volin,, "Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ high-flying offense couldn’t be stopped en route to title," 2 Feb. 2020 Putin badly needs Trump to stay in the White House, keeping the US out of his plans. Garry Kasparov, The New York Review of Books, "A Popular Front to Stop Trump," 28 Jan. 2020 The legislation would bring badly needed financial relief for many diabetics by capping insulin co-pays at $100 per month, regardless of the type or amount of insulin prescribed, Dougherty said. Bruce Schreiner,, "Kentucky bill would cap out-of-pocket insulin costs," 16 Jan. 2020 Callum Hudson-Odoi can finally begin showing the world why the Bayern Munich's of this sport wanted him so badly, while fill-in forward Mason Mount has also been in blistering form., "Ranking All 20 Premier League Attacks From Worst to Best," 17 Oct. 2019 After that things went so badly that marrying Madonna wasn’t even the worst mistake Ritchie made. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Gentlemen: Return of the Hilarious Gangster Caper," 23 Jan. 2020 Some were beaten so badly, they were left for dead. Washington Post, "Virginia votes on the Equal Rights Amendment again. And it’s debt-settling time.," 13 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for badly

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for badly

Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Badly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for badly


How to pronounce badly (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for badly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with badly

Spanish Central: Translation of badly

Nglish: Translation of badly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of badly for Arabic Speakers

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