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

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 Here's a thing many of us have forgotten about computing at the start of the 21st century—multi-tasking performance was terrible. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "A history of Intel vs. AMD desktop performance, with CPU charts galore," 17 Nov. 2020 The noise is terrible, grows louder as the day darkens into evening, and continues late into the night. Salman Rushdie, The New Yorker, "The Old Man in the Piazza," 16 Nov. 2020 The matchup is terrible and usage is too inconsistent to trust Danny Amendola (DET), even if Golladay is out. Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fantasy Football Week 10: Start and Sit," 12 Nov. 2020 The terrible thing, the abominable thing, the worst news for the country, is that this reconciliation, if Trump finally does not renew his term, would have to be brought about by a sectarian Kamala Harris. Itxu Díaz, National Review, "The Left Turn That Never Came," 7 Nov. 2020 Atlanta’s defense is terrible, but Matt Ryan pulls it out. Los Angeles Times, "NFL Week 9 picks: Seahawks beat Bills; Raiders edge Chargers," 6 Nov. 2020 The Lions’ run game hasn’t been terrible this season. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Matthew Stafford was great last week. This week he may have to be perfect," 1 Nov. 2020 Kane took over as defensive coordinator in 2018, and the Mustangs' defense was terrible that year. Dallas News, "Coordinator 1-on-1: SMU DC Kevin Kane breaks down the Mustangs' defense," 29 Oct. 2020 The screens were sometimes small, and the individual speakers usually offered terrible sound quality. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "Despite the odds, Anchorage used to have 3 drive-in movie theaters in operation at the same time," 11 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for terrible

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for terrible

Last Updated

23 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Terrible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrible. Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for terrible


How to pronounce terrible (audio)

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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Comments on terrible

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