American English

Definition of terrible adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1very 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!
  2. 2causing 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 sick I feel terrible—I think I'll go to bed. You look terrible, you'd better sit down.
  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. You'll be in terrible trouble if you're late again. Thesaurusterribleawful horrible dreadful foul 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 (somewhat 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 color. The weather last summer was awful.horrible (somewhat informal) very unpleasant; used to describe something that you do not like:The coffee tasted horrible.dreadful (somewhat informal) very bad or unpleasant; used to describe something that you do not like or that you disapprove of:My schedule is dreadful this week.foul extremely bad or unpleasant:A foul odor came from the kitchen. He was in a foul mood.horrendous (somewhat 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/foul thing a(n) terrible/awful/horrible/foul smell terrible/awful/horrible/dreadful/vile/horrendous conditions terrible/awful/horrible/dreadful/foul weather terrible/awful/dreadful news
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: terrible

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