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From Latin atrōx(fierce, frightful, cruel), from āter(black).



atrocious (comparative more atrocious, superlative most atrocious)

  1. Frightful, evil, cruel or monstrous.
    Prisons have been the sites of atrocious mistreatment of prisoners.
  2. Offensive or heinous. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  3. Very bad; abominable or disgusting.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, in The Celebrity:
      The Celebrity, by arts unknown, induced Mrs. Judge Short and two other ladies to call at Mohair on an afternoon when Mr. Cooke was trying a trotter on the track. The three returned wondering and charmed with Mrs. Cooke; they were sure she had had no hand in the furnishing of that atrocious house.
    Their taste in clothes is just atrocious.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Nouns to which "atrocious" is often applied: crime, act, murder, condition, spelling, grammar.

Related terms[edit]


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