Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.


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.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.terribleness - a quality of extreme unpleasantnessterribleness - a quality of extreme unpleasantness
unpleasantness - the quality of giving displeasure; "the recent unpleasantness of the weather"
frightfulness - the quality of being frightful
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


nSchrecklichkeit f, → Fürchterlichkeit f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in classic literature ?
But he loved the work because it was for her and the tiny life that had come to cheer them, though adding a hundredfold to his responsibilities and to the terribleness of their situation.
The scene was fascinating in its terribleness, but suddenly it came to me that we were wasting valuable time watching this conflict, which in itself might prove a means of our escape.
At the moment preceding the first stroke of his paws in the water out of his depth, he had known all the terribleness of the taboo he deliberately broke.
They were both remembering what the woman had said when she took the money: "God give you a happy love!" It was not in the ingratiating tone of the habitual beggar: it had come out of the depths of the poor creature's sorrow, vibrating with pity for their youth and despair at the terribleness of human life; it had the anguish of a voice of prophecy.
The terribleness of the sight painted the honest anxiety for the woman on his face.
In another interview, you described yourself as l'enfant terrible of Bikol writings, concluding that 'Savage Mind is the fulfillment of this terribleness'.
--and I'm relieved at the terribleness of other people's
For all their complicated terribleness, car finance contracts are regulated financial agreements (under the Consumer Credit Act) which means you can go to the Financial Ombudsman if you're unhappy with the result of a complaint.
Trump acknowledged the weight these moments carry, telling reporters that experiencing such events as president, "it's a level of terribleness and horror that you can't even believe.
Todd Gray was Jackson's exclusive personal photographer in the late 1970s and early 1980s-and thus enjoyed a proximity that allowed him a privileged view of the celebrity in construction--and many of his original photographs from that period appear in his ongoing "Exquisite Terribleness" series, 2013-.
Her father said floods came to wipe out the terribleness of the world--they were lucky to find this island.