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the page mentions the slang form of bad. it should also mention "baddest", as in "i'm the baddest mutha***** out here". just a sugestion--Jaysscholar 23:50, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Someone added this at some point under etymology 2. Equinox 12:51, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Missing definition[edit]

The colloquial adverb use of "bad" as in "I want it bad" is missing in this page. Since I do not know under which etymology it goes, I'd rather let an expert do it. 04:28, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Your sentence is using bad as slang for badly, which we have a note about. I've added another sense for the adjective ("severe", "urgent") to go with this. Equinox 12:50, 7 November 2008 (UTC)


Earlier etymology is logical (except for the dubious Proto-Indo-European origin[3]), compared with the alternative unconnected in meaning. There is no evidence of a connection between the initially presented meaning and that of these Norse alternatives, that may be from pre-Indo-European √ ĀBhADh[3]. Was in the Guiness Book of Records, as the oldest written attestation in English; but whether it is simply related to Old High German PAD[6] that was probably borrowed from Celtic[3] (as that lexeme also means 'bath'); or Iberian[4], with its ancient Spanish remote connections[7], I am not convinced by that statement. Not to be linked with Welsh BUDR[1], from root of Latin PUTER[5]; nor is it connected with German BÖSE[1], from another root altogether. Per the December 2014 request, the Oxford Dictionary and Professor Skeat's bear out the BǢDAN[4], (to defile) although phonologically incorrect, as the oldest attested meaning.

[0] means 'Absolutely not; [1] means 'Exceedingly unlikely'; [2] means 'Very dubious'; [3] means 'Questionable'; [4] means 'Possible'; [5] means 'Probable'; [6] means 'Likely'; [7] means 'Most Likely' or *Unattested; [8] means 'Attested'; [9] means 'Obvious' - only used for close matches within the same language or dialect, at linkable periods. √ means original or earliest root.
Andrew H. Gray 20:56, 4 November 2015 (UTC) Andrew (talk)
The Guinness Book of Records' assertion does not make sense since there cannot be "oldest English word(s)" (only "oldest written attestation" could make sense in such a case). 17:58, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

What about this etymology linking it to Lithuanian bads and Sanskrit badha? Zezen (talk) 13:14, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

Copying an answer from my Talk page (Thanks!):

@Zezen (talk) Regarding the Lithuanian lexeme for "hunger", the connection there with English BAD is quite dubious; nor is there any connection with the Sanskrit form that links much more semantically with the Norse forms; although ultimately from the stock root ABhAdh (mentioned in the Talk Page of bad). Not every SINGLE word present in English is of Proto-Indo-European origin. Andrew H. Gray 14:04, 12 February 2016 (UTC)Andrew
Several problems (assuming our etymologies are correct):
  1. That's Etymology 1 at bædan, which is unrelated to the etymology under consideration, Etymology 1 of this entry- which is possibly related to Etymology 2 at bædan. Etymology 1 at baedan is distantly related to Etymology 3 of this entry, but that's an archaic inflected form of a relatively uncommon verb, not the very common adjective.
  2. bads is Latvian, not Lithuanian
  3. bads is from PIE *bʰodʰ-/*bʰedʰ-, while Etymology 1 at bædan is from *bʰeydʰ-- two completely different roots.
  4. The same is true of बाधा (bādhā)
In other words: that's the wrong etymology, it doesn't link to the non-Lithuanian bads, nor to the Sanskrit बाधा (bādhā)- every part of your question is wrong. The fact that you didn't notice any of these fatal errors when you posted that question shows why you shouldn't be editing etymologies until you learn to pay attention to details. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:57, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

Thank you for the answer, Chuck Entz.

Re 3: Do you mean that बाधा (bādhā) comes from *bʰodʰ- too, then?

Re "4": Questions are right (they may be inane or inept, granted), while the answers may be wrong.

As for my future tinkering with etymologies, I have just created Appendix:Proto-Slavic/buditi - do you like it? Edit at will. I plan to continue to do so, for Wiktionary's sake, to join the PIE dots, and I welcome your input and collaboration there, too.Zezen (talk) 00:44, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

I'm not qualified to critique Proto-Slavic etymologies- I know my limits. The problem with your plan is that you've repeatedly shown yourself to be quite capable of getting things massively, horribly wrong. Even if you're %90 right, the potential for damage by that other %10 means that the people who are knowledgeable enough to spot your mistakes have to spend time checking your work that they could have spent on much more reliable work of their own. As for your question re 3: I said "assuming our etymologies are correct". Off the top of my head, the consonants look like they could be compatible with that assumption, if w:Grassman's law has removed the aspiration from the first consonant, but I don't know where the long vowels come from- I haven't done much with Sanskrit in a long, long time. Re your observation on 4: no, as I demonstrated above, your questions are fatally flawed, which makes the likelihood of wrong answers very high. Given your lack of caution, I hope no one gives you the opportunity to perform brain surgery or nuclear-reactor design any time soon. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:42, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

Re. Etymology for "bad":

I'd just like to point you all to the Persian word بد (bd) meaning bad, evil, ill, icky, unfavorable, amiss, blighted, dreadful, mean, shocking... (I've just taken the translations the Google translator spat out). This word is used in the same way in Urdu / Hindi (both India, where my father comes from). As Persian is also an Indo-Germanic (Arian) language, I would presume that the words bad / بد have the same origin. And another tip for the scientists / researchers among you: I once saw a documentary on European Christian history - in this documentary one of the historians interviewed mentioned that during a certain period in Christian history (Early Middle Ages) the Church strictly forbade taking a bath, calling it an "evil custom" from pre-Christian times (especially since men and women at the time used to take baths together). I know from Muslim history, that Muslims used to consider European Christians dirty because (for religious reasons) they never took a bath. So it may well be that the etymology given under "bath" may not be quite correct, but rather be connected to the fact, that the original word "bad" meaning evil became interchangeable with taking a bath ("don't do it, its bad/evil").

JMAkhtar 2016-12-15 15:00 Thu (UTC)

The resemblance of the Persian and English words is found in many linguistics textbooks as the prime example of a coincidental false cognate. If it had been inherited by both from the same Proto-Indo-European word, there would be considerable difference between the two. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:07, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
Amusing. So if the pronunciation of a word hardly changed over the centuries, then it is considered to be a "coincidental false cognate"? So then there are really many coincidental false cognates between the European (Indo-European/Arian) and Persian (Indo-European/Arian) languages: مادر (madr)= mother (German: Mutter), پدر (padr) = father (German: Vater), برادر (bradr) = brother (German: Bruder), دختر (dukhtr) = daughter (German: Tochter), just to name a few :) [JMAkhtar 2017-01-04 19:18 Wed (UTC)]
@[JMAkhtar 2017-01-04 19:18 Wed (UTC)] Whilst I appreciate your logic, Chuck Entz is a very highly qualified etymologist and linguist who understands the subject fluently and is aware of the changes that would have taken place. Regards. Andrew H. Gray 19:49, 9 January 2017 (UTC)Andrew (talk)
But the origin of English bad is obscure (it can only be traced back to c. 1300 as Middle English badde). Can we really be sure, then, that there is no connection at all and the resemblance is entirely coincidental? Can't the English word be a borrowing from Persian? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 14:19, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
The evidence is weighted towards it only being assimilated in writing by that time, but is likely to have been used in speech long before then. After all, there was no printing available then; and if no one had to write the word, it could only have existed vocally, if not borrowed, as suggested that it might have been. I am not carried by its origin as bæddel for 'hermaphrodite' either. There is certainly no connection with Gaelic bochd (poor) that answers to Cornish boghosek (poor). All I actually know apart from my early edits above is that bad was hypothetically documented as the longest surviving word (before its gradations) in the English language; but that is very dubious. Care is required in citing any remote connection with Spanish badea (related to 'insipidity'), 'badomia' (nonsence) and badulaque; but, in any case, there is no direct connection between these lexemes and Welsh baedd (wild boar) and baeddu (to beat, buffet, soil) - (probably from the noun). There would have to be a real link with bædan (to defile) and of non-P.I.E. origin for an Iberian or dialectual Javanese origin, to link with the Guiness Book of Records' assumption. Kind regards. Andrew H. Gray 16:34, 28 July 2017 (UTC)Andrew

I think we are missing the obvious answer to the origin of bad which is from the substrate welsh word of bwdr meaning rotten and pronounced bood. We know the pre saxon language was Welsh/British so I am unsure how this has been missed. 20:56, 3 November 2018 (UTC)

The vowel changes alone render the Welsh BWDR or BUDR as inconsistent with its true etymology, that is very difficult to trace. Andrew Andrew H. Gray 08:55, 5 November 2018 (UTC)