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

  • adj. Causing great fear or alarm; dreadful: a terrible bolt of lightning; a terrible curse.
  • adj. Extremely formidable: terrible responsibilities.
  • adj. Extreme in extent or degree; intense: "the life for which he had paid so terrible a price” ( Leslie Fiedler).
  • adj. Unpleasant; disagreeable: had a terrible time at the party; terrible food.
  • adj. Very bad: a terrible actor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Dreadful; causing alarm and fear.
  • adj. formidable, powerful.
  • adj. Intense; extreme in degree or extent.
  • adj. Unpleasant; disagreeable.
  • adj. Very bad; lousy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Adapted or likely to excite terror, awe, or dread; dreadful; formidable.
  • adj. Excessive; extreme; severe.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • That excites or is fitted to excite terror, fear, awe, or dread; awful; dreadful; formidable.
  • Excessive; tremendous; severe; great: chiefly used colloquially: as, a terrible bore.
  • Synonyms Terrific, fearful, frightful, horrible, shocking, dire.

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

  • adj. intensely or extremely bad or unpleasant in degree or quality
  • adj. extreme in degree or extent or amount or impact
  • adj. causing fear or dread or terror
  • adj. exceptionally bad or displeasing


Middle English, from Old French, from Latin terribilis, from terrēre, to frighten.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French, from Latin terribilis ("frightful"), from terrere ("to frighten"). Compare terror, deter. (Wiktionary)


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