\ ˈbad How to pronounce bad (audio) \
worse\ ˈwərs How to pronounce bad (audio) \; worst\ ˈwərst How to pronounce bad (audio) \

Definition of bad

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : failing to reach an acceptable standard : poor a bad repair job
b : unfavorable make a bad impression
c : not fresh : spoiled bad fish
d : not sound : dilapidated the house was in bad condition
2a : morally objectionable : evil bad men
b : mischievous, disobedient a bad dog
3 : inadequate or unsuited to a purpose a bad plan bad lighting
4 : disagreeable, unpleasant bad news
5a : injurious, harmful a bad influence
b : serious, severe in bad trouble a bad cough
6 : incorrect, faulty bad grammar
7a : suffering pain or distress felt generally bad
b : unhealthy, diseased bad teeth
8 : sorrowful, sorry feels bad about forgetting to call
9a : invalid, void a bad check
b : not able to be collected a bad debt
10 badder; baddest slang
a : good, great one of the baddest songwriters to be found anywhereBlack Collegian
b : tough, mean the baddest guy on the block
not bad
: fairly or acceptably good She eyes the other girls' clothes. A bright orange skirt. Good. A black cocktail dress with a gold belt. Not bad. A white dress with a blousy, frilly top. Hideous.— Karl Taro Greenfeld : quite good or impressive For the second time in three games, Patrick Roy blanked the Dallas Stars. Not bad for a player who insists he is not a shutout goalie.The New York Times



Definition of bad (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : something that is bad There's more good than bad in him. Take the good with the bad.
2 : an evil or unhappy state Things went from bad to worse.
3 : fault sense 2 the mistake was my bad



Definition of bad (Entry 3 of 3)

: badly not doing so bad doesn't want it bad enough

Other Words from bad


badness noun

Examples of bad in a Sentence

Adjective The house is in bad condition. a letter written in bad French He had a bad day at the office. I was having a bad dream. She made a very bad impression on her future colleagues. We've been having bad weather lately. The medicine left a bad taste in his mouth. It's a bad time for business right now. Things are looking pretty bad for us at this point. I have a bad feeling about this. Noun There's more good than bad in him. We need to teach our children the difference between good and bad. teaching children the difference between the good and the bad He believes that the good go to heaven when they die and the bad go to hell. Adverb He hasn't succeeded because he doesn't want it bad enough. you didn't do too bad on the treadmill test See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Just as jamming food into one’s belly is liable to feel bad, information too should be consumed at a certain pace and with a certain care. Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, 11 May 2022 Though these types of phony opportunities aren't new, bad actors have become more creative and deceptive over time. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 11 May 2022 Once and for All, in addition to Along for the Ride. Our bad! Jenny Singer, Glamour, 9 May 2022 The effects will spread far and wide, but the ripples will hit China’s neighbors first—and perhaps hint at how bad the collateral damage farther afield could be. Jacky Wong, WSJ, 6 May 2022 Don’t feel bad if the answer is no, because in a crowded field, money and name recognition are hard to come by, giving the incumbent gasbag a big advantage. Steve Lopezcolumnist, Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2022 Just how bad is former Cincinnati mayor John Cranley losing to Nan Whaley? Carl Weiser, The Enquirer, 4 May 2022 By the early sixties, with the rise of the civil-rights movement, some people were starting to feel bad about such practices. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, 1 May 2022 And don’t feel bad about not giving to organizations that solicit you. John Jennings, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Up until this point, the show had led viewers to believe that the big bad was Doomsday, the beast who famously killed Superman in the comics. Chancellor Agard,, 26 Jan. 2022 And yet, no, Savathun is not the big bad of the entire Destiny franchise. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 8 Sep. 2021 Wanda and Captain Marvel, the only other female Avenger to helm her own property so far, are the two members of the team who could have defeated the big bad of the last two Avengers films, Thanos. New York Times, 11 Mar. 2021 The accidental bumps and sorrys and quiet my bads create a low hum as the group finds its rhythm behind Jaydon. Adam Harris, The Atlantic, 29 Aug. 2019 And the true halfway point of Mr. Robot would’ve come sometime during S3, which ends by finally putting Elliot in direct odds with big bads White Rose and the Dark Army. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, 14 Dec. 2017 Some good news to buffer the bad: Andreas Athanasiou will practice with the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday, and could be in the lineup this trip. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, 25 Oct. 2017 Our big bads in the Hawkins federal lab seem to be ramping up to factor heavily into this modern theme. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, 31 Oct. 2017 Domestic Goods — and Bads: Robin Thicke and model girlfriend April Love Geary are expecting a baby. … Christie D'zurilla,, 19 Aug. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Drake got this man down bad after responding to a troll’s comment about his son Adonis…. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, 4 May 2022 According to the Times, in 2018 Barbara Ledeen, a Republican Senate aide who had reportedly developed Groundswell’s enemies list with Ginni Thomas, participated in a plot to oust McMaster by secretly taping him bad-mouthing Trump. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 21 Jan. 2022 Although these scenarios correlate with a better global GDP for roughly the next 20 years, things go bad afterward, with the GDP reduced by up to 3 percent for the ensuing 60 years (with no predictions for what happens after that). K.e.d Coan, Ars Technica, 28 Dec. 2021 Then, the chief of staff began ignoring the aide’s phone calls, lying about meetings being canceled, and bad-mouthing her to Sims, according to the complaint. Alice Yin,, 17 Dec. 2021 People might also experience fever, chills, peeing a lot or feeling the urge to pee a lot, burning while peeing, nausea, vomiting, pus in the urine, and cloudy, bad-smelling urine. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, 15 Nov. 2021 Avoid disclosing information about current workplace conflicts, a family situation leading to seeking new employment, or bad-mouthing a current supervisor. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., USA TODAY, 28 Sep. 2021 Nevertheless, Beckham’s father posting a video making Mayfield look bad ruffled a lot of feathers on Tuesday, inside the walls of the Browns’ facility and out. cleveland, 3 Nov. 2021 These fans wanted Jeff Hardy to win this match so bad. Alfred Konuwa, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bad.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bad


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1c


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1c


1575, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bad


Middle English badde, bad, of obscure origin

Note: The Middle English word apparently appears as a surname or element in surnames in the 13th century, but as an independent adjective not before the 14th century. The supposed connection with the marginally attested Old English words bæddel, bædling (vowel length uncertain) "hermaphrodite, homosexual" is possible but uncertain (direct descent of badde from bæddel through phonetic reduction is unlikely).


Middle English badde, noun derivative of badde bad entry 1


adverbial derivative of bad entry 1

Learn More About bad

Time Traveler for bad

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near bad



bada bing

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Statistics for bad

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for bad


\ ˈbad How to pronounce bad (audio) \
worse\ ˈwərs \; worst\ ˈwərst \

Kids Definition of bad

1 : not good : poor bad weather bad work
2 : not favorable a bad report bad times
3 : not fresh or sound bad meat
4 : not good or right : evil a bad person "You are ignorant, boy," said Miss Lupescu. "This is bad. And you are content to be ignorant, which is worse."— Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book
5 : not behaving properly a bad dog
6 : not enough bad lighting
7 : unpleasant bad news
8 : harmful bad for the health
9 : serious sense 2, severe a bad cold in bad trouble
10 : not correct bad spelling bad manners
11 : not cheerful or calm a bad mood
12 : not healthy bad teeth He felt bad from a cold.
13 : sorry sense 1 I felt bad about my mistake.
14 : not skillful a bad musician

Other Words from bad

badness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for bad

bad, evil, and wicked mean not doing or being what is right. bad is used of anyone or anything that a person might dislike or find fault with. He had to stay after school for bad behavior. evil is a more powerful word than bad and is used for something of bad moral character. Criminals were planning evil deeds. wicked is used of someone or something that is truly and deliberately bad. He was a very wicked ruler who caused many people harm.



Legal Definition of bad

: not valid : void bad notice especially : not covered by sufficient funds a bad check

More from Merriam-Webster on bad

Nglish: Translation of bad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bad for Arabic Speakers


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