Definition of worst noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//wɜːst//
; NAmE NAmE//wɜːrst//
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  •  the worst [singular] the most serious or unpleasant thing that could happen; the part, situation, possibility, etc. that is worse than any other The worst of the storm was over. When they did not hear from her, they feared the worst. The worst of it is that I can't even be sure if they received my letter. He was always optimistic, even when things were at their worst.
  • Word OriginOld English wierresta, wyrresta (adjective), wierst, wyrst (adverb), of Germanic origin; related to worse.Extra examples Although all the votes have not yet been counted, the party is preparing for the worst. At its worst, bullying is a kind of torture. At worst, the drug can be fatal. Christmas usually brings out the absolute worst in sentimental platitudes. Don’t worry—the worst that can happen is that you’ll get a fine. He was still very ill, but the worst seemed to be over. Her sister helped her through the worst of her illness. I had not expected to do well in my exams, and the letter confirmed the worst. It doesn’t matter what I say. My mother always expects the worst. Let them do their worst= be as difficult as they can—we’ll fight them every inch of the way. Scotland seemed to have escaped the worst of the recession. She always thinks the worst of people.Idioms  used for saying what is the worst thing that can happen At the very worst, he'll have to pay a fine. At worst this may mean the end of her playing career.
    bring out the worst in somebody
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    to make somebody show their worst qualities Pressure can bring out the worst in people.
    (of a person) to do as much damage or be as unpleasant as possible Let them do their worst—we'll fight them every inch of the way. to be defeated He'd been in a fight and had obviously got the worst of it.
    if the worst comes to the worst (North American English also if worst comes to worst)
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    if the situation becomes too difficult or dangerous If the worst comes to the worst, we'll just have to sell the house.
    the worst of all (possible) worlds
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    all the disadvantages of every situation
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: worst