1

dreadful

adjective dread·ful \ ˈdred-fəl \
Updated on: 16 Dec 2017

Definition of dreadful

1 a : inspiring dread (see 2dread 1a) : causing great and oppressive fear
  • a dreadful attack
b : inspiring awe or reverence
2 : extremely bad, distasteful, unpleasant, or shocking
  • a dreadful idea
  • a dreadful performance
  • dreadful behavior
  • The food was absolutely dreadful.
3 : extreme
  • dreadful disorder

dreadfully

play \-f(ə-)lē\ adverb

dreadfulness

play \-fəl-nəs\ noun

Examples of dreadful in a Sentence

  1. Her performance was absolutely dreadful.

  2. Those children have such dreadful manners.

Recent Examples of dreadful from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dreadful.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of dreadful

see 1dread


2

dreadful

noun

Definition of dreadful

publishing
: a cheap and sensational (see sensational 2) story or periodical

Origin and Etymology of dreadful

see 1dread


DREADFUL Defined for English Language Learners

dreadful

adjective

Definition of dreadful for English Language Learners

  • : very bad or unpleasant


DREADFUL Defined for Kids

dreadful

adjective dread·ful \ ˈdred-fəl \

Definition of dreadful for Students

1 : causing fear
  • a dreadful storm
2 : very unpleasant
  • a dreadful cold


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

of or relating to dancing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu-jedi-training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!