nas·​ty | \ ˈna-stē How to pronounce nasty (audio) \
nastier; nastiest

Definition of nasty

1a : disgustingly filthy nasty living conditions
b : physically repugnant a nasty taste
2 : indecent, obscene nasty language
3 : mean, tawdry living a cheap and nasty life— G. B. Shaw
4a : extremely hazardous (see hazardous sense 1) or harmful a nasty undertow
b : causing severe pain or suffering a nasty wound a nasty fall
c : sharply unpleasant : disagreeable nasty weather
5a : difficult to understand or deal with a nasty problem a nasty curveball
b : psychologically unsettling : trying a nasty fear that she was lost
6 : lacking in courtesy or sportsmanship a nasty trick

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Other Words from nasty

nastily \ ˈna-​stə-​lē How to pronounce nastily (audio) \ adverb
nastiness \ ˈna-​stē-​nəs How to pronounce nastiness (audio) \ noun
nasty noun

Choose the Right Synonym for nasty

dirty, filthy, foul, nasty, squalid mean conspicuously unclean or impure. dirty emphasizes the presence of dirt more than an emotional reaction to it. a dirty littered street filthy carries a strong suggestion of offensiveness and typically of gradually accumulated dirt that begrimes and besmears. a stained greasy floor, utterly filthy foul implies extreme offensiveness and an accumulation of what is rotten or stinking. a foul-smelling open sewer nasty applies to what is actually foul or is repugnant to one expecting freshness, cleanliness, or sweetness. it's a nasty job to clean up after a sick cat In practice, nasty is often weakened to the point of being no more than a synonym of unpleasant or disagreeable. had a nasty fall his answer gave her a nasty shock squalid adds to the idea of dirtiness and filth that of slovenly neglect. squalid slums All these terms are also applicable to moral uncleanness or baseness or obscenity. dirty then stresses meanness or despicableness don't ask me to do your dirty work , while filthy and foul describe disgusting obscenity or loathsome behavior filthy street language a foul story of lust and greed , and nasty implies a peculiarly offensive unpleasantness. a stand-up comedian known for nasty humor Distinctively, squalid implies sordidness as well as baseness and dirtiness. engaged in a series of squalid affairs

Examples of nasty in a Sentence

She has a nasty habit of biting her fingernails. The medicine left a nasty taste in my mouth. That nasty old man yelled at me just for stepping on his lawn! He sent a nasty letter to the company. She's got quite a nasty temper. He said lots of downright nasty things about her. She called him a few nasty names and left.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The last, to Darrien Earle, was a particularly nasty split that became fodder for the tabloids with accusations of mental abuse, adultery, and feuds over property, large and small. Royal Ford,, "Auto executive Lee Iacocca, who rescued Chrysler and helped launch the Ford Mustang, dies at 94," 3 July 2019 The bad guys, frankly, alternately prove nasty and inept, and the build-up spends a bit too much time on CW-esque shenanigans. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Stranger Things' tackles teen troubles in third season," 3 July 2019 Against the French, England were much the better team for large portions of the game. 1-0 up and dominant, the game turned on it's head after Hamza Choudhury was sent off for a pretty nasty tackle., "England Self-Destruct Once More - Why Oh Why Does This Keep Happening at Major Tournaments," 22 June 2019 So what's the likely culprit behind these nasty-looking marks? Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "What Those Red Circles on Your Dog’s Stomach Really Are," 7 June 2019 Michelle Pfeiffer has played a coke-addled trophy wife (Scarface), a poisonous narcissist (White Oleander), and a really nasty feline (Batman Returns). Jenny Bailly, Allure, "Michelle Pfeiffer’s New Fragrance Is the Perfume the Clean Beauty World Has Been Missing," 8 Apr. 2019 Thanks to the central role real estate plays in powering the Chinese economy, its leaders faces a nasty dilemma. Gwynn Guilford, Quartz, "China’s debt disease might wreck its uncrashable housing market," 11 June 2019 The closing three holes, dubbed the Green Mile, is an 1,170-yard stretch of nasty that can send a player packing in a hurry after missing the 36-hole cut. Steve Dimeglio, USA TODAY, "Tiger Woods misses good birdie chances but claws his way to even-par round at Wells Fargo," 3 May 2018 The 22-year-old right-hander throws a fastball (91-94 mph) and a nasty breaking ball. Terry Pluto,, "Cleveland Indians: Talking Michael Brantley, slumps, prospects -- Terry Pluto," 21 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nasty.' 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 nasty

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for nasty

Middle English

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More Definitions for nasty



English Language Learners Definition of nasty

: very unpleasant to see, smell, taste, etc.
: indecent and offensive
: unpleasant and unkind


nas·​ty | \ ˈna-stē How to pronounce nasty (audio) \
nastier; nastiest

Kids Definition of nasty

1 : mean entry 2 sense 1 He has a nasty disposition.
2 : very unpleasant nasty weather a nasty taste
3 : very serious : harmful I had a nasty fall on the ice.
4 : very dirty : filthy
5 : indecent nasty jokes

Other Words from nasty

nastily \ ˈna-​stə-​lē \ adverb
nastiness \ ˈna-​stē-​nəs \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on nasty

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nasty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nasty

Spanish Central: Translation of nasty

Nglish: Translation of nasty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nasty for Arabic Speakers

Comments on nasty

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