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 Like many across the country, he has been personally impacted by Covid-19, and knows how badly the vaccine is needed. Rebecca Sohn, STAT, "Overloaded schedules and ‘Covid cowbells’: For pharmacists, the Covid-19 vaccine rollout brings exhaustion, but some relief," 12 Feb. 2021 An investigation by Vice suggests replacement trucks are badly needed; hundreds have allegedly caught fire in the past six years. Aarian Marshall, Wired, "Biden Wants the Government to Run on EVs. It Won’t Be Easy," 1 Feb. 2021 The hack has badly shaken the U.S. government and private sector. Frank Bajak, Star Tribune, "Cybersecurity firm: Booting hackers a complex chore," 19 Jan. 2021 Tyler Rich was left badly shaken after discovering a dead body while jogging on New Year's Eve. Mitchell Peters, Billboard, "Tyler Rich Recalls Horrific Experience of Discovering Dead Body While Jogging on New Year's Eve," 2 Jan. 2021 Researchers warn that opposition to the vaccines is resonating, not just with fringe anti-vaccine communities but with swaths of mainstream America, whose faith in science and government has been badly shaken by the pandemic. Jessica Flores, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus updates: 'Explosive' surge in California; NFL to honor frontline health care workers; Twitter cracks down on misinformation," 18 Dec. 2020 In more recent years, even the state's hold on the country's financial system has been badly shaken, with the US dollar growing commonplace in day-to-day transactions. Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, "Venezuela is quietly quitting socialism," 18 Dec. 2020 This city flooded in 1986 and was shaken badly six years ago by a 6.0-magnitude earthquake, causing damages that kept the historic courthouse building closed until earlier this fall. Scott Wilson, Washington Post, "California seemingly corralled coronavirus. Now, cases are surging, hospitals are full and shutdowns are back," 24 Nov. 2020 And the memory of being blown out so badly in last year's NFC championship by San Francisco remains fresh. Barry Wilner, Star Tribune, "NFC Matchups: Where else to start but Brady and Rodgers?," 22 Jan. 2021

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

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Badly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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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 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

Nglish: Translation of badly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of badly for Arabic Speakers

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