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

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 Usually, for the first dispatch of a new year, a writer will preview what’s ahead in the next 12 months — the good, the bad, and the impossible (the Los Angeles Angels winning a World Series? Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, "Essential California: Just leave already, 2020, and let 2021 be," 4 Jan. 2021 Can the Bay Area get as bad as Los Angeles given the current trajectory? Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Dec. 17-23," 1 Jan. 2021 Virts shares the good, the bad and the ugly about the realities of being an astronaut, including details about uncomfortable spacesuits, the truth about going to the bathroom in space and what the glorious views of Earth and space are really like. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Astronaut Terry Virts shares an 'insider's guide' to life in space," 31 Dec. 2020 But a -20 turnover differential that's twice as bad as any other team really sums up Denver's 2020. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL power rankings after Week 16: Baltimore Ravens return to top five," 30 Dec. 2020 As bad as the second and third quarters were, the Pelicans didn’t get off to an awful start Tuesday. Christian Clark, NOLA.com, "Pelicans searching for answers to fix 'discombobulated' offense," 30 Dec. 2020 Though no one knew it at the time, that would be as bad as things would get. Alex Putterman, courant.com, "Year in review: Thousands die as COVID-19 shuts down Connecticut," 28 Dec. 2020 If the new virus's effect on the rate of transmission is as bad as government advisers' fear, then the U.K. will need a national shutdown of the kind imposed in March. Star Tribune, "U.K. should have reacted more quickly to new coronavirus strain," 27 Dec. 2020 By the end of the year, the good things have pushed out the bad from the students’ memories completely. Johan Norberg, WSJ, "Why We Can’t Stop Longing for the Good Old Days," 26 Dec. 2020 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 And nothing ruins an ambiance more than a bad-smelling candle. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "The 10 worst things our readers bought in 2020—and what they wish they bought instead," 31 Dec. 2020 Staff would discourage a person from chewing on a foreign object by forcing them to hold a coarse rag dipped in a bad-tasting substance in their mouth. State Of Denial, ProPublica, "People with Developmental Disabilities Were Promised Help. Instead, They Face Delays and Denials.," 6 Nov. 2020 Overripe fruits and vegetables go bad faster, so choose the freshest produce available. Arriana Vasquez Wirecutter, Star Tribune, "It's fall. Time to refresh, reset and save," 9 Oct. 2020 But that might not be much comfort — economists are notoriously bad at predicting recessions. Ben Casselman, New York Times, "Will the Coronavirus Cause a Recession? Keep Your Eye on the Barbershops," 10 Mar. 2020 Hospitals are bad at patching Hospitals are notoriously bad at running up-to-date software and patching medical devices for their patients. Yael Grauer, Ars Technica, "Why is the healthcare industry still so bad at cybersecurity?," 9 Feb. 2020 Not bad a for a team whose rushing attack ranked 32nd in the league a year ago. Bob Mcmanaman, azcentral, "Cardinals' offensive line proved to be an unexpected source of durability and solid play," 1 Jan. 2020 And computer programs are notoriously bad at identifying people of color, especially women, and people with beards or wearing hijabs. Anchorage Daily News, "Federal facial recognition is coming to Sea-Tac Airport; Delta Air Lines will be first to use it," 24 Nov. 2019 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

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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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

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bad. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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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

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.

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

Nglish: Translation of bad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bad for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bad

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