ter·ri·ble | \ˈter-ə-bəl, ˈte-rə-\

Definition of terrible 

1 : extremely bad: such as

a : notably unattractive or objectionable terrible behavior

b : of very poor quality a terrible movie

c : strongly repulsive : obnoxious a terrible smell

2a : difficult in a terrible bind

b : formidable in nature : awesome a terrible responsibility

c : exciting extreme alarm or intense fear : terrifying

3 : extreme, great a terrible disappointment

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Other Words from terrible

terribleness noun
terribly \ˈter-ə-blē, ˈte-rə- \ adverb

Examples of terrible in a Sentence

Traffic was held up by a terrible accident. I have a terrible cold. The service at that restaurant is terrible.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Subtropical Storm Alberto will bring terrible conditions for boaters, and the United States Coast Guard on Saturday asked them to refrain from taking their boats out Memorial Day weekend as the storm approaches. Greg Larose, NOLA.com, "Subtropical Storm Alberto: Watch 4 p.m. Saturday update," 26 May 2018 The yellow rope proved terrible, that hideous polyester stuff that unties your knot almost when you're done tying it and rots into nasty splinters. Seth Kantner, Anchorage Daily News, "We’re failing in our relationship with nature – and with each other," 9 June 2018 Hackel said millions of dollars in other road work scheduled for Mound in Sterling Heights — and even some projected work on the road in Warren — still will take place before then because of its terrible condition. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Mound Road could get $98M federal grant for massive upgrade," 5 June 2018 The challenges of helping kids in terrible situations with an imperfect system still remain. Adiel Kaplan, miamiherald, "She struck down gay adoption ban and handled notorious juvenile cases. Now she's retiring.," 3 July 2018 The emotional and physical toll exacted on these young men have led to terrible tragedies. Helene Elliott, latimes.com, "Two former hockey players sue the league, claiming it didn't warn about CTE," 22 June 2018 Even more terrible to bear than Lewis’s memories was, for Hurston, the death of a foundational myth. Emily Bernard, The New Republic, "Zora Neale Hurston’s drive to tell the story of the slave trade’s last survivor," 19 June 2018 The last year and a half has been pretty terrible, in all honesty. Jon J. Kerr, chicagotribune.com, "Deerfield's Vince India fights through back pain to play in Rust-Oleum Championship," 4 June 2018 Disney has the resources to ensure no Star Wars film is truly terrible, and Solo is far from unwatchable. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Is Good, But It Could've Been Great," 29 May 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2c

History and Etymology for terrible

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin terribilis, from terrēre to frighten — more at terror

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Statistics for terrible

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for terrible

The first known use of terrible was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of terrible

: very shocking and upsetting

: very bad or unpleasant


ter·ri·ble | \ˈter-ə-bəl \

Kids Definition of terrible

1 : very great in degree a terrible fright a terrible mess

2 : very bad I got a terrible grade on the test.

3 : causing great fear a terrible monster

Other Words from terrible

terribly \-blē \ adverb

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Comments on terrible

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


not any or not one

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