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 In other words, a person can successfully complete a purchase online, but their feelings about the process could be terrible, thus adding up to a negative perception about their experience with the company. Greg Kihlstrom, Forbes, 10 Sep. 2021 And, well, what about the fact that just about every woman in this movie is terrible? New York Times, 8 Sep. 2021 My thinking: The Lions are going to be terrible, so there will be a lot of garbage time points to be had. Charles Curtis, USA TODAY, 3 Sep. 2021 Cell coverage is terrible, and Interstate 10 around the city has been closed. Washington Post, 1 Sep. 2021 Death, ambulances, masks, and gloves — something horrific, terrible. Torrey Peters, Vulture, 31 Aug. 2021 So everybody can agree that the execution has been terrible, but was there a better policy prescription that could have been followed by either the Trump administration or the Biden administration or both? Peter Bergen, CNN, 20 Aug. 2021 The book sounds, in summary, terrible: pretentious, self-serious, unendurable. Wyatt Mason, Harper's Magazine, 20 July 2021 The weather was terrible and Boyers had to contend with hills and high-voltage power lines on the way to Waverly, a small city about 60 miles west of Nashville. Nashville Tennessean, USA TODAY, 28 Aug. 2021

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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Last Updated

13 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Terrible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrible. Accessed 22 Sep. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on terrible

Nglish: Translation of terrible for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of terrible for Arabic Speakers


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