\ ˈbad How to pronounce bad (audio) \
worse\ ˈwərs How to pronounce worse (audio) \; worst\ ˈwərst How to pronounce worst (audio) \

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 2 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

Adjective 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. Noun 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. Adverb 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 Boston has been cursed with some of the nation’s worst traffic. BostonGlobe.com, "Anatomy of a traffic jam - The Boston Globe," 20 Nov. 2019 Moreover, despite the spending our outcomes are often worse than those of our international peers, especially among poorer Americans. Adam Seessel, Fortune, "Valuation: Why Health Insurer Anthem Is Worth Investing In," 19 Nov. 2019 The comedian also discussed his early days in comedy, why sitcoms today are so bad, and the funniest thing a comedian can wear. Marianne Garvey, CNN, "Why Jerry Seinfeld compares his daughter to a baby alligator," 19 Nov. 2019 Their penalty kill is the worst in the league and Minnesota will be able to take advantage. Chris Wassel, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Wild-Sabres odds: Buffalo holds edge over Minnesota," 19 Nov. 2019 Instead, the retailer likes to offer store gift cards with qualifying purchases… which isn’t the worst, but most of us would prefer to see price drops. Elissa Sanci, Woman's Day, "The Best (and Worst) Things to Buy on Black Friday," 18 Nov. 2019 And the best/worst thing Portland has going for it is that the season is only a dozen games old. John Canzano | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Canzano: Trail Blazers’ signing of Carmelo Anthony is a desperate move by a desperate franchise," 15 Nov. 2019 This worsens the impacts of climate change such as droughts and floods, which are likely to hurt Indians worse than the rest of the global population. Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, "Fossil fuel de-addiction may wipe out a big chunk of India’s government revenues," 14 Nov. 2019 Though a bit of tropical fruit puree or some muddled berries probably wouldn’t be too bad either. Alex Delany, Bon Appétit, "Wait, Which Canned Cocktails Are Actually Good?," 14 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The accidental bumps and sorrys and quiet my bads create a low hum as the group finds its rhythm behind Jaydon. Adam Harris, The Atlantic, "The Fine Line Campus Tour Guides Walk—Backwards," 29 Aug. 2019 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, latimes.com, "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 During that same six months, 60 percent of those who said their quality of life was bad or very bad changed their answers to good or very good. Mary Schumacher, chicagotribune.com, "Science: Medical marijuana is the safer option for seniors," 28 Aug. 2019 Not bad from an actress from Russellville, Alabama. John Hammontree | Jhammontree@al.com, al, "Sonequa Martin-Green on Star Trek, Walking Dead, Space Jam and Alabama," 12 Aug. 2019 And people are pretty good at seeing their own behavior in the best light and pretty bad at seeing an invidious pattern to their assumptions. New York Times, "What Should I Do About My Racially Obtuse Co-Worker?," 2 July 2019 An Arizona Department of Child Safety report orders a parent to keep their court hearings and DCS meetings secret from news media, politicians and anyone who may bad-mouth the government. Arizona Republic, "Did Arizona Department of Child Services try to bar parents from criticizing it?," 16 July 2019 And though Koepka will have to wait another month before going for major No. 5, at the British Open at Royal Portrush, his résumé didn’t take too bad a hit. Eddie Pells, BostonGlobe.com, "Brooks Koepka sparkles in US Open but settles for second," 17 June 2019 And though Koepka will have to wait another month before going for major No. 5, at the British Open at Royal Portrush, his resume didn’t take too bad a hit. Eddie Pells, The Denver Post, "Brooks Koepka makes U.S. Open history, but no 3 in a row," 17 June 2019 Mirroring the Scientology custom whereby anyone who bad-mouths the church is ostracized as a nonperson, the practice smacks of a cult. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "Cruel and Unusual Punishment," 10 Feb. 2019 Apart from all the hurricane of all that fire coming up real bad. Mark Phillips, CBS News, "97-year-old former paratrooper makes another jump 75 years after D-Day," 5 June 2019

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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Learn More about bad

Time Traveler for bad

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for bad

Last Updated

23 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Bad.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/badness. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for bad

How to pronounce bad (audio)

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 unpleasant things that happen to people
: things that are morally wrong
\ ˈbad How to pronounce bad (audio) \
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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bad

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


very cautious or careful

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