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 ugly (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 To them, being fat means being ugly, rejected, unloved, and unlovable. Your Fat Friend, SELF, "The Surprising Liberation I Find Hiding Within Unintentional Fat Jokes," 24 Feb. 2021 Most of the Mavericks’ offensive possessions in the final three minutes, as an 11-point lead over Boston vaporized, were ugly. Tom Fox, Dallas News, "‘Luka Magic’ is beautiful, especially when the Mavericks’ play isn’t as pleasing to the eye," 23 Feb. 2021 Coolest Cooler exposed the ugly side of crowdfunding, which was built for artisans and small businesses. Mike Rogoway, oregonlive, "Coolest Cooler, in final accounting, cost its Kickstarter backers more than $4 million," 26 Dec. 2020 Prescott is the latest victim of the ugly side of the NFL business. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Jerry Jones has plenty to set right with Dak Prescott after Cowboys QB's injury," 12 Oct. 2020 Neither the relatively conservative Balzac nor the more radical Hugo skimp on the ugly side of French life during this period. Washington Post, "I returned to the National Gallery seeking comfort. But art no longer feels like an escape.," 7 Oct. 2020 But the ugly, sneaky side of progressivism comes out — its ultimate resolve is to control. Armond White, National Review, "Our Sovietized Oscars," 11 Sep. 2020 Riesman describes a volatile relationship between father and daughter, with ugly fights recurring in Lee’s final years. Stephanie Burt, The New Yorker, "Who Really Created the Marvel Universe?," 8 Feb. 2021 On numerous occasions, the ugly sequences have sandwiched the beautiful ones, which is the biggest reason the Warriors are .500 a third of the way through the season. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors waste another Steph Curry gem in loss to Spurs," 8 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb As ugly as their record is, the Chargers are better than most 2-7 clubs. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, "New York Jets vs. Los Angeles Chargers picks, predictions: Who wins Week 11 NFL game?," 17 Nov. 2020 The Pelicans wound up winning ugly, which, for them, is actually a promising development. Christian Clark,, "Pelicans eke past Spurs with stout defense, win home opener," 27 Dec. 2020 Winning ugly, as quarterback Nick Foles reminded us, is still winning. Usa Today Sports, USA TODAY, "NFL Week 9 roundtable: Which teams will rise, fall in second half of season?," 8 Nov. 2020 If protests again turn ugly during the inauguration, those without shelter could be caught between battling police and extremists or make easy targets for instigators. Washington Post, "‘Where are they going to go?’ D.C. activists help move people off the street before potential unrest," 16 Jan. 2021 State law enforcement officers ultimately banned the protesters from the State Capitol grounds out of concern that the Texas demonstrations would turn ugly. New York Times, "In Michigan, a Dress Rehearsal for the Chaos at the Capitol on Wednesday," 9 Jan. 2021 My book is an old paperback, so old the sections were sewn together, the front cover replaced with a cut-down file folder, and the tape used has turned ugly brown. Star Tribune, "Quarantine Read: Readers recommend 'Pride and Prejudice'," 8 Jan. 2021 Negotiations between the players union and league to stage a season eventually got ugly and spilled into the public. Jorge Castillo, Anchorage Daily News, "Dodgers win 1st World Series title since 1988," 28 Oct. 2020 Kawhi Leonard and Paul George outscored James and Anthony Davis 59-40 in a decisive show of force that was ugly early and got slightly more palatable as the game wore on. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, "Lakers celebrate NBA championship with rings, then get beat by Clippers," 22 Dec. 2020

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

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ugly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for ugly



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
2 : offensive entry 1 sense 1 ugly habits
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

Nglish: Translation of ugly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ugly for Arabic Speakers

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