Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Extremely evil or cruel; monstrous: an atrocious crime.
  • adj. Exceptionally bad; abominable: atrocious decor; atrocious behavior.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. frightful, evil, cruel or monstrous
  • adj. offensive or heinous
  • adj. very bad; abominable or disgusting

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Extremely heinous; full of enormous wickedness.
  • adj. Characterized by, or expressing, great atrocity.
  • adj. Very grievous or violent; terrible.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Manifesting or characterized by atrocity; extremely heinous, criminal, or cruel; enormously or outrageously wicked.
  • Very grievous; violent: as, atrocious distempers.
  • Very bad; execrable: as, an atrocious pun.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. shockingly brutal or cruel
  • adj. exceptionally bad or displeasing
  • adj. provoking horror

Etymologies

From Latin atrōx, atrōc-, frightful, cruel; see āter- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin atrox ("fierce, frightful, cruel"), from ater ("black"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • 'On my life, Stanley, I'll acquaint Mr. Wylder this evening with what you meditate, and the atrocious liberty you presume -- yes, Sir, though you are my brother, the _atrocious liberty_ you dare to take with my name -- unless you promise, upon your honour, now and here, to dismiss for ever the odious and utterly resultless scheme.'

    Wylder's Hand

  • During the campaign it was revealed that Whitman herself had not voted for 28 years, a record she described as "atrocious" and had ruthlessly dumped her longtime housekeeper when it emerged she was an illegal alien - and consequently a political liability.

    Will Meg Whitman stay the course as HP CEO?

  • Saloniki & joined other POW's in atrocious conditions, & after some time there, we were loaded into cattle trucks, 40 to a truck.

    Frank Cox

  • They were both dressed in atrocious outfits, and one-time ANTM catchphrase photog Gilles Bensimon notched nearly 30 seconds of screen time.

    'America's Next Top Model' recap: And the winner is... | EW.com

  • I lighted up my pipe and waited, and the story that Oti told me in atrocious bech-de-mer I here turn into proper English.

    YAH! YAH! YAH!

  • "Nothing short of atrocious" is such an exaggeration.

    The Last Airbender Movie Trailer #3 | /Film

  • Given that I usually only take transit in atrocious weather, I'll be very happy to transfer to the SkyTrain part way to work and avoid the extra five blocks walk from the bus stop down a treacherous icy hill.

    Archive: Oct 08 - Mar 09

  • While the cuotas from Puebla to Veracruz State and on the La Venita-Tuxtla cutoff are in atrocious condition in places, the roads in Chiapas are really excellent even in many parts of the outback.

    Pico Orizaba to The Mountains of OZ Over the Highways From Hell

  • While that's bad enough, what's truly atrocious is that this occurs in a chapter called — no kidding — "The Boundaries of Design," which otherwise is devoted to legal wrangles about inanimate materials: annoying zoning restrictions, excessive design review, and the like.

    Material Girl

  • Jenkins, whose walk-to-strikeout ratio has always been atrocious, is trying to work deeper in counts this season.

    USATODAY.com - National League Central

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Comments

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  • Me too!

    February 1, 2013

  • I love when CD&C really loses it and Miss Manners wafts away on a Plato-trolling excursion.

    February 1, 2013