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 Still, there were little snafus — the hamachi ended up a tad overseasoned, the table service was terrible and the household bar only offered carrot-orange juice or water. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "We tried 5 Bay Area restaurant meal kits created for coronavirus shelter in place," 1 May 2020 But keeping them open seems like a terrible idea, too Editor’s note: The Economist is making some of its most important coverage of the covid-19 pandemic freely available to readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. The Economist, "Suffering from a stitch Bangladesh cannot afford to close its garment factories," 30 Apr. 2020 But computers are terrible at figuring out what’s true and what’s false. Jeremy B. Merrill, Quartz, "Facebook thinks it can warn you if you’ve been exposed to misinformation," 18 Apr. 2020 David is terrible with secrets, and an even worse liar. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "'In Five Years' Is Marie Claire's April Book Club Pick," 30 Mar. 2020 And while that terrible situation sounds roundly unforgivable, pilots can face hard decisions about fuel that can really mean life or death for the people on their planes. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "In the Middle of a Pandemic, a Boeing 787 Breaks Passenger Flight Records," 19 Mar. 2020 Given the scale at which the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe, India’s scanty testing network might prove to be a terrible nightmare soon. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "This map shows why India urgently needs more Covid-19 testing centres," 17 Mar. 2020 Later that night, Ruth complained of a terrible fever. Randy Roberts And Johnny Smith, Smithsonian Magazine, "When Babe Ruth and the Great Influenza Gripped Boston," 30 Apr. 2020 Truly, though, nothing beats Juan Pablo Galavis as Bachelor—which served as an introduction to Crawley and how truly terrible of a human being Galavis was (ALLEGEDLY). Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, "'Bachelor: The Most Unforgettable—Ever!': Every Detail We Know," 30 Apr. 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

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Terrible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrible. Accessed 26 May. 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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