worse

adjective
\ˈwərs \

Definition of worse 

(Entry 1 of 3)

comparative of bad

or of ill

1 : of more inferior quality, value, or condition

2a : more unfavorable, difficult, unpleasant, or painful

b : more faulty, unsuitable, or incorrect

c : less skillful or efficient

3 : bad, evil, or corrupt in a greater degree : more reprehensible

4 : being in poorer health : sicker

worse

noun

Definition of worse (Entry 2 of 3)

: one that is worse threatened expulsion and worse

worse

adverb

Definition of worse (Entry 3 of 3)

comparative of bad

or badly

or of ill

or illy

1 : in a worse manner : to a worse extent or degree

2 : what is worse

Examples of worse in a Sentence

Adjective

His schoolwork got worse after his parents split up. Her second book was worse than her first one. Her first book was bad, but her second one is even worse. This one is no worse than that one. Could the situation get any worse? You have even worse luck than I do. It turned out to be a worse idea than we originally thought. She ended up in worse shape than when she started. Things are bad for him now, but he was in a worse situation last week. Cheer up. Things could be worse, you know.

Noun

I didn't want to tell her that worse was yet to come. Her accusations don't bother me. I've been accused of worse. When I lost my job, my life took a turn for the worse.

Adverb

I did much worse on my second try. You drive worse than he does. That isn't an excellent score, but you could have done worse. She was hurt worse than I was.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Worse case: James leaves so Altman pays Thomas to form a superstar duo with Love and explores trades for a third star with his lottery pick. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "Koby Altman's Magic Act Lets LeBron Know There's Life After Kyrie," 23 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

What made the prejudice worse was that the entire institutional infrastructure of college basketball was in on it; coaches, athletic directors and alumni. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Loyola’s legacy: Rejecting racial preference in pursuit of excellence," 27 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Against the National League, the Birds fare even worse. Katherine Fominykh, baltimoresun.com, "Over the past decade, the Orioles have had a problem with America's birthday," 4 July 2018 Beyond those poor waiters, taxi drivers and baristas fared even worse with their millennial customers. Riley Griffin, chicagotribune.com, "When it comes to tipping for service, millennials are cheapest," 18 June 2018 Tran, bidding for an open seat after Republican Ed Royce decided to retire, fared even worse, with a 4.9% share that left her in eighth place. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Scientists fare poorly in Super Tuesday primary vote," 6 June 2018 The sessions that don’t include LaMelo — like the June 26 event at the 10,387-seat Wintrust Arena in Chicago — have fared far worse early at the box office. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "The ticket sales for LaVar Ball's JBA league have been comically abysmal," 4 June 2018 Experts say that not nearly enough people are getting their requisite seven to nine hours, and our addiction to technology — who hasn’t checked emails in the middle of the night? — is making things even worse. Kavita Daswani, latimes.com, "Better sleep requires a better routine, and perhaps an upgrade to your pillows and PJs," 31 May 2018 Women who used their own frozen eggs fared even worse—with 14 percent success rates. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "What Keeps Egg-Freezing Operations From Failing?," 13 Mar. 2018 That reality has led, understandably, to a flurry of public health measures aimed at containing this burgeoning opioid epidemic, which kills tens of thousands of people every year (and may actually be getting worse). Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Brainstorm Health: Pain Patients and Opioids, Gene Editing Cholesterol, Doctor Burnout," 10 July 2018 Undercounting young children has gotten worse every census since 1980. Melissa Etehad, latimes.com, "The 2020 census could undercount 1 million kids — which means less money for California schools," 9 July 2018

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

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for worse

Adjective

Middle English werse, worse, from Old English wiersa, wyrsa; akin to Old High German wirsiro worse

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about worse

Statistics for worse

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for worse

The first known use of worse was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for worse

worse

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of worse

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: lower in quality

: less pleasant, attractive, appealing, effective, useful, etc.

: more serious or severe

worse

noun

English Language Learners Definition of worse (Entry 2 of 3)

: something that is worse

worse

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of worse (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a worse way

—used to say that what is going to be described is worse than what was mentioned before

worse

adjective
\ˈwərs \

Kids Definition of worse

 (Entry 1 of 3)

comparative of bad

or of ill

1 : more bad or evil Is cheating worse than lying?

2 : being in poorer health The child was worse the next day.

3 : more unfavorable, difficult, or unpleasant a worse punishment

4 : of poorer quality, value, or condition This car is worse than that one.

5 : less skillful I practice, but keep getting worse.

6 : less happy She made me feel worse.

7 : more faulty or unsuitable His idea was even worse.

worse

noun

Kids Definition of worse (Entry 2 of 3)

: something worse I suffered insults and worse.

worse

adverb

Kids Definition of worse (Entry 3 of 3)

comparative of badly

or of ill

: not as well : in a worse way I hate getting lost worse than anything.

worse

Medical Definition of worse 

comparative of ill

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on worse

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a private place of worship

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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