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



    BrE BrE//ˈɡɑːstli//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɡæstli//
    (ghastlier, ghastliest) Being ill
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  1. 1(of an event) very frightening and unpleasant, because it involves pain, death, etc. synonym horrible a ghastly crime/murder She woke up in the middle of a ghastly nightmare.
  2. 2(informal) (of an experience or a situation) very bad; unpleasant synonym terrible The weather was ghastly. It's all been a ghastly mistake. When she mentioned redundancies, for one ghastly moment, I thought she meant me.
  3. 3(informal) (of a person or thing) that you find unpleasant and dislike very much synonym horrible her ghastly husband This lipstick is a ghastly colour. I look ghastly in red.
  4. 4[not usually before noun] ill/sick or upset synonym terrible I felt ghastly the next day. Do I look as ghastly as I feel? See related entries: Being ill
  5. 5(literary) very pale in appearance, like a dead person His face was ghastly white. She had a ghastly pallor.
  6. Word OriginMiddle English: from obsolete gast ‘terrify’, from Old English gǣstan, of Germanic origin; related to ghost. The gh spelling is by association with ghost. The sense ‘objectionable’ dates from the mid 19th cent.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: ghastly