ter·​ri·​ble | \ ˈter-ə-bəl How to pronounce terrible (audio) , 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 How to pronounce terribly (audio) , 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

Selina Meyer is terrible—but Julia Louis-Dreyfus, in playing her, was decidedly not. Bonnie Stiernberg, Glamour, "The Veep Series Finale Gave Selina Meyer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus an Ending They Deserve," 13 May 2019 And that yearning to protect her family has brought her nothing but terrible decisions and horrible grief. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Why Cersei Lannister Should Survive the End of 'Game of Thrones'," 30 Apr. 2019 Though the staff giggled at my terrible accent, everyone seemed to appreciate the effort. Nicole Pajer, SELF, "What I Wish I’d Known Before Dealing With a Medical Emergency While Traveling Abroad," 15 Apr. 2019 There is, for me, an innate temptation to ask why these terrible things happen. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "On the Columbine Shooting's 20th Anniversary, How Do We Make Sense of Senseless Violence?," 20 Apr. 2019 Don't forget the Mother of Dragons already has a lot stacked against her: Her family has done some pretty terrible things to the North (a.k.a Stark territory), including burning Sansa's Uncle Brandon alive and kidnapping Jon's mother, Lyanna. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Emilia Clarke Just Revealed What Happens When Dany Meets Arya and Sansa on Game of Thrones and...Oh Man," 10 Apr. 2019 And then one day, a terrible thing happened in the lolly scheme of things. Deborah Levy, The Cut, "The Cost of Living," 1 July 2018 Video review has been mostly not a terrible thing Speaking of stopping momentum, that was one of the primary concerns about the introduction of video review, which was introduced to MLS last summer. Brian Straus, SI.com, "The World Cup of Chaos: Looking Back on a Group Stage for the Ages," 29 June 2018 Poseidon is meant to be a chilling second-strike terror weapon, making a nuclear attack on Russia too terrible to contemplate. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia Releases Test Video of Poseidon Nuclear Attack Drone," 22 Feb. 2019

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

22 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for terrible

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

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More Definitions for terrible



English Language Learners Definition of terrible

: very shocking and upsetting
: very bad or unpleasant


ter·​ri·​ble | \ ˈter-ə-bəl How to pronounce terrible (audio) \

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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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

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