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

      

    terrible

     adjective
    adjective
    BrE BrE//ˈterəbl//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈterəbl//
     
    Unhappiness, Fear
     
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  1. 1  very unpleasant; making you feel very unhappy, upset or frightened a terrible experience What terrible news! I've just had a terrible thought. It was a terrible thing to happen to someone so young. That’s a terrible thing to say! 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 See related entries: Fear
  2. 2  causing great harm or injury; very serious a terrible accident He had suffered terrible injuries. I'll have to stay with her—she's in a terrible state.
  3. 3  [not before noun] unhappy or ill/sick I feel terrible—I think I'll go to bed. You look terrible, you'd better sit down. See related entries: Unhappiness
  4. 4  (informal) of very bad quality; very bad a terrible meal Your driving is terrible!
  5. 5  [only before noun] used to show the great extent or degree of something bad a terrible mistake to be in terrible pain The room was in a terrible mess. (informal) I had a terrible job (= it was very difficult) to persuade her to come. You’ll be in terrible trouble if you’re late again.
  6. Word Origin late Middle English (in the sense ‘causing terror’): via French from Latin terribilis, from terrere ‘frighten’.Extra examples I thought something really terrible had happened. It must have been terrible for the survivors. Nothing very terrible happened. He’s had a terrible shock. How terrible for you! I feel terrible—I think I’ll go to bed. I feel terrible: it could so easily have ended in tragedy and I just didn’t think. I had a terrible job to persuade her to come. I have a terrible memory for names. I’ll have to stay with her—she’s in a terrible state. I’m afraid there’s been a terrible mistake. I’ve just had a terrible thought. It was the night of that terrible storm. She was involved in a terrible accident when she was a child. That’s a terrible thing to say! We had a terrible meal at that restaurant. You’ll be in terrible trouble if you’re late again.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: terrible

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