\ˈbad \
worse\ˈwərs \; worst\ˈwərst \

Definition of bad 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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

2a : 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

5a : injurious, harmful a bad influence

b : serious, severe in bad trouble a bad cough

6 : incorrect, faulty bad grammar

7a : suffering pain or distress felt generally bad

b : unhealthy, diseased bad teeth

8 : sorrowful, sorry feels bad about forgetting to call

9a : 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 anywhereBlack Collegian

b : tough, mean the baddest guy on the block

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



Definition of bad (Entry 2 of 3)

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 4 the mistake was my bad



Definition of bad (Entry 3 of 3)

: badly not doing so bad doesn't want it bad enough

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Other Words from bad


badness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for bad


bad, evil, and wicked mean not doing or being what is right. bad is used of anyone or anything that a person might dislike or find fault with. He had to stay after school for bad behavior. evil is a more powerful word than bad and is used for something of bad moral character. Criminals were planning evil deeds. wicked is used of someone or something that is truly and deliberately bad. He was a very wicked ruler who caused many people harm.

Examples of bad in a Sentence


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.


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.


He hasn't succeeded because he doesn't want it bad enough. you didn't do too bad on the treadmill test
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Insofar as individual beliefs are deforming our politics, the beliefs that do so the worst involve bigotry — especially, in the American case, racist sentiment. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "The “why can’t we all just get along” theory of politics," 3 Dec. 2018 For years, Rome, like many major European cities, has struggled with overtourism and bad behavior on the parts of both locals and tourists. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Rome Cracking Down on Street Drinking, Bad Tourist Behavior With New Laws," 28 Nov. 2018 Roaches aren’t the worst critters in our homes, though. Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018 Remove the wheel and reseat it, and the problem could easily get worse. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "How bicycles have changed in the last 25 years," 10 Nov. 2018 The exterior is boring, and the interior is worse: Its coffered central hall inescapably recalls the Reichschancellery of Albert Speer, a fan of Johnson’s work. Mark Lamster, Curbed, "Arbiter of taste, enfant terrible: The best and worst of Philip Johnson," 6 Nov. 2018 In his second-quarter portfolio commentary, Bill attributed the fund’s losses to a bad call on German bonds. Sean Elder, Town & Country, "The War of The Grosses: Inside the Bitter Divorce Battle of the Laguna Beach "Bond King"," 22 Oct. 2018 Just remember that each of them absolutely needs to be used in conjunction with daily sunscreen, or your melasma will get worse. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "Those Weird Spots on Your Face Could Actually Be Melasma," 27 Sep. 2018 What’s worse than food poisoning or catching a cold and being stuck in bed? Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "McDonald's Salads Possibly Linked to Parasite," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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, "Mr. Robot S3: If you abandoned f-society last year, it’s time to come back," 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, "Red Wings lament lack of offense, look forward to Athanasiou's return," 25 Oct. 2017 Our big bads in the Hawkins federal lab seem to be ramping up to factor heavily into this modern theme. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Stranger Things 2: The hype strikes back, but the story alliance is ready," 31 Oct. 2017 Domestic Goods — and Bads: Robin Thicke and model girlfriend April Love Geary are expecting a baby. … Christie D'zurilla,, "Did You Hear ... ? Late-night TV takes on Trump, Tom Cruise lands hard and more from the week in entertainment," 19 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

As bad a beating as the left took this year, losses may be starker and deeper in years to come. The Economist, "Justice Kennedy is retiring. What happens now?," 30 June 2018 While survey data might be more representative, people are notoriously bad at reporting their own behaviors. Rani Molla, Recode, "Americans seem to like ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. But it’s hard to say exactly how many use them.," 24 June 2018 Not bad a for a team that has had trouble finding the net all season. Jeremy Fuchs,, "Power Rankings: Are the Lightning and Predators on a Stanley Cup Final Crash Course?," 12 Mar. 2018 Harnack says this is a difficult topic to research because only a few large chains have posted calorie information to date, and people are also notoriously bad a estimating their calorie intake. CBS News, "Does posting calorie counts change what we order?," 8 May 2018 Restaurant diners are notoriously bad at keeping reservations. Aubrey Nagle,, "Sixers star needs surgery, S. Jersey church hires armed police, Nova Nation preps for Final Four | Morning Newsletter," 30 Mar. 2018 Quinn dumped offensive line coach Ron Prince and replaced him with Jeff Davidson, who has a history of turning around bad running teams. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, "How this NFL draft could propel Detroit Lions into playoffs," 28 Apr. 2018 If this becomes another 218 Arch St., the developer, L&I, the city, everybody is going to look very bad all over. Stephan Salisbury,, "Proposed West Philly apartments may sit atop an old graveyard," 24 Jan. 2018 Turns out ants are really bad at picking up on nestmates infected with this particular fungus. Kate Sheridan, Newsweek, "Zombie Apocalypse: Ants Can't Tell When Their Colony Is Overrun by a Deadly Fungus," 14 Mar. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of bad


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


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


1575, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bad


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).


Middle English badde, noun derivative of badde bad entry 1


adverbial derivative of bad entry 1

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Statistics for bad

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bad

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

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More Definitions for bad



English Language Learners Definition of bad

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: low or poor in quality

: not correct or proper

: not pleasant, pleasing, or enjoyable



English Language Learners Definition of bad (Entry 2 of 2)

: morally bad forces or influences

the bad : the unpleasant things that happen to people

: things that are morally wrong


\ˈbad \
worse\ˈwərs \; worst\ˈwərst \

Kids Definition of bad

1 : not good : poor bad weather bad work

2 : not favorable a bad report bad times

3 : not fresh or sound bad meat

4 : not good or right : evil a bad person

5 : not behaving properly a bad dog

6 : not enough bad lighting

7 : unpleasant bad news

8 : harmful bad for the health

9 : serious sense 2, severe a bad cold in bad trouble

10 : not correct bad spelling bad manners

11 : not cheerful or calm a bad mood

12 : not healthy bad teeth He felt bad from a cold.

13 : sorry sense 1 I felt bad about my mistake.

14 : not skillful a bad musician

Other Words from bad

badness noun



Legal Definition of bad 

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on bad

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bad

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bad

Spanish Central: Translation of bad

Nglish: Translation of bad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bad for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bad

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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