ug·​ly | \ ˈə-glē How to pronounce ugly (audio) \
uglier; ugliest

Definition of ugly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : offensive to the sight : hideous
b : offensive or unpleasant to any sense
2 : morally offensive or objectionable corruption—the ugliest stain of all
3a : likely to cause inconvenience or discomfort the ugly truth
b : surly, quarrelsome an ugly disposition



Definition of ugly (Entry 2 of 2)

: in an ugly manner was acting ugly

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Other Words from ugly


uglily \ ˈə-​glə-​lē How to pronounce uglily (audio) \ adverb

Examples of ugly in a Sentence

Adjective an ugly shade of green They avoided what could have been an ugly situation. He has an ugly disposition.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The victory offered good moments, bad moments and even some ugly moments for Ohio State. Stephen Means, cleveland, "Ohio State basketball gets back to .500 in Big Ten play with 68-52 win over Purdue," 15 Feb. 2020 The throttle response is immediate as turbo lag never shows its ugly face, giving the Summit Turbo the ability to claw its way to the top of the fluffy white gold with ease. David Beard, Car and Driver, "2020 Ski-Doo Summit 850 Turbo Finds Higher Ground," 14 Feb. 2020 The fight between the city and the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association fueled an ugly charter amendment battle in 2018 that prompted then-City Manager Sheryl Sculley to resign after holding the post for 13 years. Joshua Fechter,, "San Antonio firefighters have new contract with city after 6-year conflict," 13 Feb. 2020 The famously ugly shoes will carry the same design as the iconic red-striped chicken bucket and will be on sale for $59.99 this spring. ... Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "These Crocs Have a Very Original Recipe," 12 Feb. 2020 But some of us are lucky there is no ugly dumpling award this year. Jeremy Hallock, Dallas News, "How to throw a traditional dumpling party for Chinese New Year," 4 Feb. 2020 The rise in mindfulness and digital-detox programs has only broadened the appeal of going somewhere beautiful (trout, by the way, generally do not inhabit ugly waters) and calmly wielding a fly rod there for hours on end. Darrell Hartman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Where Fly-Fishing Obsessives Go to Get Away From the Crowds," 4 Feb. 2020 Preston Riley fumbled it away to Mel Renfro, Staubach threw a 10-yard TD pass to Ron Sellers with 52 seconds left, and the ugly residue had remarkable staying power. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "History of the 49ers," 30 Jan. 2020 Few Northerners — and Johnson’s audience was Northern — knew blacks as anything but abstractions, though the future of black America was becoming their urgent, ugly business. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "To the 1619 Project: Use More Art, Less Fake History," 25 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Dealing Betts in the wake of last week’s departure of Alex Cora could prove particularly ugly from a public relations standpoint. Alex Speier,, "Red Sox, Padres talking potential trade for Mookie Betts," 24 Jan. 2020 The book on the Tigers this season is to make the game as ugly as possible, and then hope for the best. Joseph Goodman |, al, "Nate Oats has a signature snack, and now he has a signature victory," 16 Jan. 2020 Coyote ugly: Before the euphoria of acquiring Taylor Hall could wear off, Arizona was hit Thursday with adversity when goalie Darcy Kuemper went down with an apparent groin injury that will left his status as week-to-week. Ross Mckeon,, "How Brent Burns responds to new Sharks regime will be critical," 20 Dec. 2019 After the Detroit Lions’ season went from ugly to cover-your-face embarrassing. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, "Martha Ford, listen up: Detroit Lions are getting buried by excuses, Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn," 9 Dec. 2019 The score was set up by Cleveland’s secondary, which was called for three penalties — one of them Randall’s ugly hit — totaling 58 yards on the scoring drive., "Browns defensive end Myles Garrett ripped off Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet and hit him with it in the head in the final seconds as the Browns’ 21-7 win over the Steelers on Thursday night ended with a wild brawl between the rivals.," 15 Nov. 2019 But the scene quickly turned ugly in the handshake line inside Phoenix Central High School's gymnasium. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Postgame fighting mars Skyline's win over No. 1 Cesar Chavez in final of PUHSD basketball tournament," 1 Dec. 2019 Things quickly turned ugly in the bottom of the sixth when Victor Caratini singled and Anthony Rizzo was hit by a Matt Albers pitch, only to have Alex Claudio salvage the situation. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 4, Cubs 0: Christian Yelich's three-run homer clinches must-win series at Wrigley Field," 1 Sep. 2019 That one turned ugly – much like the mess Mark Dantonio’s program has become. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Big Ten football power rankings: Michigan football is on the rise," 18 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ugly.' 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 ugly


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ugly


Middle English, from Old Norse uggligr, from uggr fear; akin to Old Norse ugga to fear

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Time Traveler for ugly

Time Traveler

The first known use of ugly was in the 13th century

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Statistics for ugly

Last Updated

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ugly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for ugly

How to pronounce ugly (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ugly

: unpleasant to look at : not pretty or attractive
: unpleasant to hear
: offensive or disgusting
ug·​ly | \ ˈə-glē How to pronounce ugly (audio) \
uglier; ugliest

Kids Definition of ugly

1 : unpleasant to look at : not attractive He was an ugly dog, but already, I loved him with all my heart.— Kate DiCamillo, Because of Winn-Dixie
3 : likely to cause bother or discomfort : troublesome an ugly situation
4 : showing a mean or quarrelsome disposition an ugly temper

Other Words from ugly

ugliness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on ugly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ugly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ugly

Spanish Central: Translation of ugly

Nglish: Translation of ugly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ugly for Arabic Speakers

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