Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Causing great fear or alarm; dreadful.
  • adjective Extremely formidable.
  • adjective Extreme in extent or degree; intense.
  • adjective Unpleasant; disagreeable.
  • adjective Very bad.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin terribilis, from terrēre, to frighten.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French, from Latin terribilis ("frightful"), from terrere ("to frighten"). Compare terror, deter.

Examples

  • It would be a terrible thing, perfectly _terrible_, to have him marry a girl who is not a lady, nor even an educated woman. "

    Nobody

  • Dickey: When we were filming, she was 2, and whoever came up with the term "terrible twos" knew what they were talking about.

    Toddlers & Tiaras Pageant Mom: This Is My Hobby

  • That outside pressure only seems to embolden the president, who used his inaugural address to denounce what he calls terrible cases of foreign interference that threaten Ivory Coast's sovereignty.

    Rival Presidential Candidates Take Dueling Oaths of Office in Ivory Coast

  • Studio head Harvey Weinstein is also coming to Polanski's defense, he described as -- what he described as a terrible situation.

    CNN Transcript Sep 29, 2009

  • NGUYEN: Now, both Republican and Democratic election officials are apologizing for what they call a terrible mistake.

    CNN Transcript Oct 11, 2008

  • Both Republican and Democratic election officials are apologizing for what they call a terrible mistake.

    CNN Transcript Oct 11, 2008

  • Johnny later apologized to the girls for having been what he called a terrible father.

    I Walked The Line

  • Johnny later apologized to the girls for having been what he called a terrible father.

    I Walked The Line

  • Johnny later apologized to the girls for having been what he called a terrible father.

    I Walked The Line

  • Johnny later apologized to the girls for having been what he called a terrible father.

    I Walked The Line

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