ug·​ly | \ ˈə-glē \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from ugly


uglily \ ˈə-​glə-​lē \ adverb

Examples of ugly in a Sentence


an ugly shade of green They avoided what could have been an ugly situation. He has an ugly disposition.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The ugly The always-online experience, supposedly Fallout 76’s biggest feature, doesn’t add much value to the franchise. Sarah Leboeuf, Ars Technica, "Two weeks in, Fallout 76 is a lonely, glitchy, flawed mess," 28 Nov. 2018 Anti-Catholic bigotry engulfed the 1928 campaign, one of the ugliest in history. Edward Kosner, WSJ, "‘Frank and Al’ Review: A Friendship Forged in Albany," 25 Sep. 2018 Trump’s immigration policy remains as ugly as ever, despite his latest efforts to prove otherwise. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "The Trumps Don’t Care," 22 June 2018 For as ugly as things might have looked on Tuesday night, first-base coach Dave McKay believes the bases were there for the getting. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "Baserunning missteps cost Diamondbacks in latest loss," 22 May 2018 Here, five things the English comedy gets right about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Daisy Melamed Sanders, Seventeen, "Everything Netflix’s New Show “Sex Education” Gets Right About Awkward Hookups," 18 Jan. 2019 Under this lunation, you’ll be exposed to the good, the bad, and the ugly. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What November's Taurus Horoscope Means for You," 28 Oct. 2018 There is nothing fancy, expensive, or luxurious about a pair of ugly woolen hygge socks—and that is a vital feature of hygge. Anne Roderique-jones, SELF, "I Practiced Hygge and It's Kind of the Best Thing Ever," 25 Dec. 2018 Baxter believes workers will want to unionize — and probably should, as going public will force Uber and Lyft to face the ugly accusations of worker mistreatment within the gig economy. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Uber and Lyft are racing each other to go public. Here’s why.," 12 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

While countering Pawlenty was a unifying theme for the Democrats, their primary turned ugly in the closing days. Kyle Potter, The Seattle Times, "Minnesota GOP governor primary tests Pawlenty’s comeback bid," 13 Aug. 2018 And lets not forget that @stefanogabbana bullies young girls online calling them ugly. Colleen Kratofil,, "Ashley Graham, Naomi Campbell Criticized for Walking Dolce & Gabbana Show After Selena Gomez Diss," 9 July 2018 And people were saying ugly and often untruthful things. Hope Reese, Vox, "A historian on our broken election system: “it’s run by people with stake in the outcome”," 21 Nov. 2018 Of course, a choppy, fun-to-trade market could easily turn ugly if the economy suddenly slows or a trade war erupts with China, to name just two risks. Landon Thomas Jr., New York Times, "Stock Markets Are Scary. Suddenly, It’s a Good Time to be a Trader.," 8 Mar. 2018 Connie Britton is playing Debra Newell, the successful interior designer who met John Meehan on the Internet and began a relationship with him that turned ugly. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Everything We Know About Bravo's TV Adaptation of Dirty John," 15 Oct. 2018 But their eventual challengers must first survive GOP primaries, which have been particularly ugly. Nicole Gaudiano, USA TODAY, "Primary voters to cast ballots Tuesday in West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina," 7 May 2018 The problem for the Democratic Party is that its left wing’s frenzies can turn ugly. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Teeing Off on Trump," 27 June 2018 And while the first two swings did look ugly, Porcello isn’t an awful hitter for an American League pitcher. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "ESPN crew mocks Rick Porcello's hitting right before he rips a 3-run double," 2 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ugly

Statistics for ugly

Last Updated

7 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ugly

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ugly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ugly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ugly

Spanish Central: Translation of ugly

Nglish: Translation of ugly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ugly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ugly

What made you want to look up ugly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


irregularly rounded

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!