Definition of awful adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈɔːfl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɔːfl//
    jump to other results
  1. 1  (informal) very bad or unpleasant That's an awful colour. ‘They didn't even offer to pay.’ ‘Oh that's awful.’ It's awful, isn't it? The weather last summer was awful. I feel awful about forgetting her birthday. to look/feel awful (= to look/feel ill) There's an awful smell in here. The awful thing is, it was my fault. Synonymsterribleawful horrible dreadful vile horrendousThese words all describe something that is very unpleasant.terrible very bad or unpleasant; making you feel unhappy, frightened, upset, ill, guilty or disapproving:What terrible news! That’s a terrible thing to say!awful (rather informal) very bad or unpleasant; used to describe something that you do not like or that makes you feel depressed, ill, guilty or disapproving:That’s an awful colour. The weather last summer was awful.horrible (rather informal) very unpleasant; used to describe something that you do not like:The coffee tasted horrible.dreadful (rather informal, especially British English) very bad or unpleasant; used to describe something that you do not like or that you disapprove of:What dreadful weather!vile (informal) extremely bad or unpleasant:There was a vile smell coming from the room. He was in a vile mood.horrendous (rather informal) extremely unpleasant and unacceptable:The traffic around the city was horrendous.Patterns terrible/​awful/​horrible/​dreadful for somebody a(n) terrible/​awful/​horrible/​dreadful/​vile thing a(n) terrible/​awful/​horrible/​vile smell terrible/​awful/​horrible/​dreadful/​vile/​horrendous conditions terrible/​awful/​horrible/​dreadful/​vile weather terrible/​awful/​dreadful news
  2. 2  (informal) used to emphasize something, especially that there is a large amount or too much of something It's going to cost an awful lot of money. There's not an awful lot of room. I feel an awful lot better than I did yesterday. (British English) I had an awful job persuading him to come (= it was very difficult).
  3. 3  very shocking synonym terrible the awful horrors of war
  4. Word OriginOld English (see awe, -ful).Extra examples She’s the most awful snob. The fish tasted awful. a truly awful book ‘They didn’t even offer to pay.’ ‘Oh that’s awful.’ He had never known the awful horrors of war. I feel awful—maybe it was something I ate. I woke from the most awful nightmare. It was only later that we learned the awful truth. It’s going to cost an awful lot of money. That’s an awful colour. The whole thing has been an awful nuisance. There’s not an awful lot of room.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: awful

Other results

All matches