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Related to terrible: Terrible twos


1. Causing great fear or alarm; dreadful: a terrible bolt of lightning; a terrible curse.
2. Extremely formidable: terrible responsibilities.
3. Extreme in extent or degree; intense: "the life for which he had paid so terrible a price" (Leslie Fiedler).
a. Unpleasant; disagreeable: had a terrible time at the party; terrible food.
b. Very bad: a terrible actor.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin terribilis, from terrēre, to frighten.]

ter′ri·ble·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. very serious or extreme: a terrible cough.
2. informal of poor quality; unpleasant or bad: a terrible meal; a terrible play.
3. causing terror
4. causing awe: the terrible nature of God.
[C15: from Latin terribilis, from terrēre to terrify]
ˈterribleness n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈtɛr ə bəl)

1. distressing; severe.
2. extremely bad; horrible.
3. exciting terror or great fear; dreadful; awful.
4. formidably great: a terrible responsibility.
[1400–50; late Middle English < Latin terribilis=terr(ēre) to frighten + -ibilis -ible]
ter′ri•ble•ness, n.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. 'terrible'

The adjective terrible is used in two ways. In conversation and in less formal writing, you use it to say that something is very unpleasant or of very poor quality.

I know this has been a terrible shock to you.
His eyesight was terrible.

In writing or conversation, you use terrible to say that something is very shocking or distressing.

That was a terrible air crash last week.
2. 'terribly'

The adverb terribly is sometimes used for emphasizing how shocking or distressing something is.

My son has suffered terribly. He has lost his best friend.
The wound bled terribly.

However, terribly is much more commonly used as a stronger word than 'very' or 'very much'.

I'm terribly sorry.
We all miss him terribly and are desperate for him to come home.
It's a terribly dull place.

Be Careful!
Don't use 'terribly' like this in formal writing.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.terrible - causing fear or dread or terrorterrible - causing fear or dread or terror; "the awful war"; "an awful risk"; "dire news"; "a career or vengeance so direful that London was shocked"; "the dread presence of the headmaster"; "polio is no longer the dreaded disease it once was"; "a dreadful storm"; "a fearful howling"; "horrendous explosions shook the city"; "a terrible curse"
alarming - frightening because of an awareness of danger
2.terrible - exceptionally bad or displeasingterrible - exceptionally bad or displeasing; "atrocious taste"; "abominable workmanship"; "an awful voice"; "dreadful manners"; "a painful performance"; "terrible handwriting"; "an unspeakable odor came sweeping into the room"
bad - having undesirable or negative qualities; "a bad report card"; "his sloppy appearance made a bad impression"; "a bad little boy"; "clothes in bad shape"; "a bad cut"; "bad luck"; "the news was very bad"; "the reviews were bad"; "the pay is bad"; "it was a bad light for reading"; "the movie was a bad choice"
3.terrible - intensely or extremely bad or unpleasant in degree or quality; "severe pain"; "a severe case of flu"; "a terrible cough"; "under wicked fire from the enemy's guns"; "a wicked cough"
intense - possessing or displaying a distinctive feature to a heightened degree; "intense heat"; "intense anxiety"; "intense desire"; "intense emotion"; "the skunk's intense acrid odor"; "intense pain"; "enemy fire was intense"
4.terrible - extreme in degree or extent or amount or impact; "in a frightful hurry"; "spent a frightful amount of money"
colloquialism - a colloquial expression; characteristic of spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech
extraordinary - beyond what is ordinary or usual; highly unusual or exceptional or remarkable; "extraordinary authority"; "an extraordinary achievement"; "her extraordinary beauty"; "enjoyed extraordinary popularity"; "an extraordinary capacity for work"; "an extraordinary session of the legislature"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. awful, shocking, appalling, terrifying, horrible, dreadful, horrifying, dread, dreaded, fearful, horrendous, monstrous, harrowing, gruesome, horrid, unspeakable, frightful, hellacious (U.S. slang) Thousands suffered terrible injuries in the disaster.
2. (Informal) bad, awful, dreadful, beastly (informal), dire, abysmal, abhorrent, poor, offensive, foul, unpleasant, revolting, rotten (informal), obscene, hideous, vile, from hell (informal), obnoxious, repulsive, frightful, odious, hateful, loathsome, shitty (taboo slang), godawful (slang) I have the most terrible nightmares.
bad great, wonderful, excellent, fine, brilliant, very good, magic, remarkable, superb, pleasant, terrific, delightful, admirable, super, noteworthy
3. ill, sick, unwell, poorly, rough (informal), faint, crook (Austral. & N.Z. informal), dizzy, lousy (informal), nauseated, queasy, out of sorts, nauseous, off colour (Brit. informal), under the weather (informal), indisposed, peaky, wabbit (Scot. informal) I did feel terrible at the time but I'm all right now.
4. very bad, poor, inadequate, awful, appalling (informal), pants (Brit. informal), dreadful, useless (informal), hopeless, pathetic (informal), dire (informal), inferior, duff (Brit. informal), unsatisfactory, lousy (informal), pitiful (informal), laughable, atrocious, abysmal (informal), frightful, substandard, crummy (informal) She admits her French is terrible.
5. serious, desperate, severe, extreme, bad, dangerous, insufferable He claimed that he had a terrible pain in his head. We are in terrible trouble.
serious mild, insignificant, paltry, small, moderate, harmless
6. unkind, nasty, cruel, off (informal), mean, dirty (informal), unfair, foul, beastly (informal), unacceptable, unpleasant, poisonous, shabby, vile, malicious, low-down (informal), hurtful, out of order (Brit. informal), unwarranted, obnoxious, despicable, spiteful, hateful, mean-spirited, contemptible, shitty (taboo slang), wretched, uncharitable, below the belt, uncalled for, dirty rotten (informal) It was a terrible thing to do to someone.
7. incorrigible, right (Brit. informal), real, great, shocking, impossible (informal), extreme, awful, proper (Brit. informal), dreadful, outrageous, fearful (informal), frightful She's a terrible flirt - a real man-eater.
8. guilty, sorry, ashamed, apologetic, chastened, contrite, repentant, guilt-ridden, remorseful, regretful, penitent, shamefaced, full of regret, conscious-stricken, self-reproachful He said he felt terrible about cancelling the concert.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
سَيِّئ جدافَظيع، رَهيب، مُؤْلِم جدامُرْعِب، مُخيفمُرَوِّع
khủng khiếp


[ˈterəbl] ADJ
1. (= very unpleasant) [experience, accident, disease] → terrible, espantoso
it was a terrible thing to have happenedera terrible que hubiese sucedido algo así
it was a terrible thing to seeera horrible verlo
the terrible thing is that I've lost itlo peor de todo es que lo he perdido
2. (= very bad) [weather, food] → horrible, espantoso
her French is terriblehabla fatal el francés, habla un francés espantoso
"what was it like?" - "terrible!"-¿qué tal fue? -¡espantoso!
I'm terrible at cookingse me da fatal la cocina
I'm terrible at remembering namesse me da fatal recordar (los) nombres, soy malísimo para recordar (los) nombres
I've got a terrible coldtengo un resfriado espantoso
I've had a terrible day at the officehe tenido un día malísimo or horrible en la oficina
to feel terrible (= guilty, ill) → sentirse fatal or muy mal
to look terrible (= ill) → tener muy mal aspecto
she looked terrible in that trouser suitese traje pantalón le quedaba fatal
I've got a terrible memorytengo una memoria malísima
I've made a terrible mistakehe cometido un terrible error
you sound terrible, is something wrong?¡vaya tono!, ¿pasa algo?
we had a terrible timelo pasamos fatal
3. (as intensifier) (= great) [pity, shame] → verdadero
I've been a terrible foolhe sido un verdadero imbécil
the garden is in a terrible messel jardín está hecho un verdadero desastre
it was or it came as a terrible shockfue un golpe terrible
he's having terrible trouble with his homeworkle está costando horrores or un montón hacer los deberes
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈtɛrɪbəl] adj
(= very unpleasant) [experience, shock, nightmare] → terrible; [conditions, life, news] → terrible; [heat, sight] → terrible; [conditions] → terrible, épouvantable
(= very serious) [injuries, accident, disease, consequences, storm] → terrible
(= ill) to feel terrible → se sentir très mal, ne pas se sentir bien du tout
to look terrible → n'avoir pas l'air bien du tout
(of very bad quality) [hotel, food, memory, weather] → épouvantable
My French is terrible → Mon français est épouvantable.
I've had a terrible day at the office → J'ai eu une journée épouvantable au bureau.
(for emphasis) (= great)
It's a terrible waste! → C'est vraiment du gâchis!
He's a terrible liar → C'est un grand menteur., C'est un incroyable menteur.
I was a terrible fool → J'ai été vraiment bête.
(= guilty) to feel terrible about sth → s'en vouloir pour qch, s'en vouloir terriblement pour qch
to feel terrible for doing sth → s'en vouloir de faire (or d'avoir fait) qch, s'en vouloir terriblement de faire (or d'avoir fait) qch
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


schrecklich, furchtbar; he is terrible at golfer spielt schrecklich (inf)or furchtbar schlecht Golf; I feel terrible (= feel ill)mir ist fürchterlich schlecht; (= feel guilty)es ist mir furchtbar peinlich; to sound terrible (= ill)sich schrecklich anhören; I sound terrible on tapeauf Band klinge ich furchtbar
(inf: = absolute) foolfurchtbar
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈtɛrəbl] adj (gen) → terribile, tremendo/a; (play, film) → orrendo/a; (performance, report) → pessimo/a; (weather) → bruttissimo/a
to be terrible at sth → essere un disastro in qc
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈterəbl) adjective
1. very bad. a terrible singer; That music is terrible!
2. causing great pain, suffering, hardship etc. War is terrible; It was a terrible disaster.
3. causing great fear or horror. The noise of the guns was terrible.
ˈterribly adverb
1. very. She is terribly clever.
2. in a terrible way. Does your leg hurt terribly?
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


مُرَوِّع hrozný frygtelig schrecklich τρομερός atroz kauhea horrible grozan terribile ひどい 무서운 vreselijk grusom straszny terrível ужасный fruktansvärd ซึ่งแย่มาก korkunç khủng khiếp 很糟的
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


a. terrible.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
Collins Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
The victims of persecution had now turned persecutors on their own account, and persecutors of the most terrible description.
Yet terrible as was the danger we incurred, the attraction of peeping was for both of us irresist- ible.
Now the power of the crafty old Malay extended from one end of this great river on which the long-house lay to the other, and though not all the tribes admitted allegiance to him, yet there were few who would not furnish him with men and boats when he required them; for his piratical cruises carried him often up and down the stream, and with his savage horde it was possible for him to wreak summary and terrible vengeance upon those who opposed him.
Is it a jest that you should spend so much money, such a terrible amount of money, upon me?
"Are you really going to look upon the face of Oz the Terrible?"
"Arise," he cried in a terrible voice, "and let me kill you as you have killed my son!"
How often when considering her character I have told myself that I was to blame for not understanding her, for not understanding that constant composure and complacency and lack of all interests or desires, and the whole secret lies in the terrible truth that she is a depraved woman.
Especially valuable is it in communicating to us the FEEL of those terrible times.
Even Death himself, the great and terrible King of kings, though he may break the heart of love with agonies and anguish and slow tortures of separation, may break not his faith.
After he has gotten himself up regardless of expense, in showy, baggy trowsers, yellow, pointed slippers, fiery fez, silken jacket of blue, voluminous waist-sash of fancy Persian stuff filled with a battery of silver-mounted horse-pistols, and has strapped on his terrible scimitar, he considers it an unspeakable humiliation to be called Ferguson.
"Why not?" I asked, for some grave, terrible feeling was coming over me.
But when the people beheld him they set up a wild and angry howl; and their faces had an evil aspect, which was made more terrible by the flickering blaze of the bonfire.