terrible

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Starbreeze took in money from investors with a rights issue and bought Overkill with shares, but, according to people familiar with the deal, Starbreeze was in such a terrible financial position that these shares were essentially worthless. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: The sordid tale of Starbreeze's stumbles, Overwatch players learn piano (with guns)," 1 Feb. 2019 Sadly, Daniel had a terrible allergic reaction to his green contact lenses and had to stop wearing them, while Emma Watson couldn't speak clearly wearing her false buck teeth. 6. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "33 Mind-Blowing "Harry Potter" Movie Facts That'll Make You Want to Watch Them All Over Again," 31 Jan. 2019 No one wants to believe that someone can be an ingenious yet a terrible human being. Morgan Jerkins, Teen Vogue, "R. Kelly and Other Powerful Men Have Always Manipulated Their Teen Fans," 9 Jan. 2019 Due to being completely terrible at digging, Roger fails to form an escape tunnel before Father Alexandre is set to be killed. Mehera Bonner, Harper's BAZAAR, "Roger Finally Redeemed Himself on Outlander," 21 Jan. 2019 Nonfiction Poor Princess Margaret: so fun, so funny, so trapped in the terrible job of being the queen’s younger sister. Constance Grady, Vox, "The 16 best books I read in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 The 2017-2018 flu season was particularly terrible: 710,000 people were hospitalized, and the CDC estimates that more than 80,000 died, some of which were considered typical at-risk demographics, like elderly persons. Lindsey Vehlewald, SELF, "We Never Got Flu Shots. Then the Flu Almost Killed My Husband," 9 Nov. 2018 In Hush, Kate Siegel's Maddie lets nothing stop her from claiming her agency in a terrible situation. Kate Robertson, Marie Claire, "13 Feminist Horror Movies That Will Make You Appreciate the Genre in a Whole New Way," 18 July 2018 Ten months ago, when the Giants called Sandoval up to the majors, it was viewed as a nonsense transaction for a terrible team playing out the string in a lost season. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "Sandoval’s return to Giants: From sentimental to genius," 22 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about terrible

Statistics for terrible

Last Updated

13 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for terrible

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for terrible

terrible

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of terrible

: very shocking and upsetting
: very bad or unpleasant

terrible

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on terrible

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with terrible

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for terrible

Spanish Central: Translation of terrible

Nglish: Translation of terrible for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of terrible for Arabic Speakers

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

irregularly rounded

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!