From Middle English hidous, from Anglo-Norman hidous, from Old French hideus, hydus (“that which inspires terror”), from earlier hisdos, from Old French hisda (“horror, fear”), of uncertain and disputed origin. Probably from Proto-West Germanic *agisiþu (“horror, terror”), from Proto-West Germanic *agisōn (“to frighten, terrorise”), from Proto-Germanic *agaz (“terror, fear”), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂egʰ- (“to frighten”). Cognate with Old High German egisa, egidī (“horror”), Old English egesa (“fear, dread”), Gothic 𐌰𐌲𐌹𐍃 (agis, “fear, terror”).
Alternative etymology cites possible derivation from Latin hispidosus (“rugged”), from hispidus (“rough, bristly”), yet the semantic evolution is less plausible.
hideous (comparative more hideous, superlative most hideous)
- Extremely or shockingly ugly.
- A piteous and hideous spectacle.
- Having a very unpleasant or frightening sound
- 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
- He started up, growling at first, but finding his leg broken, fell down again; and then got upon three legs, and gave the most hideous roar that ever I heard.
- Hateful; shocking.
c. 1601–1602, William Shakespeare, “Twelfe Night, or VVhat You VVill”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene v]:
Sure, you have some hideous matter to deliver.
- Morally offensive; shocking; detestable.
1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chapter 9:
when the wind is shrieking, and the men are yelling, and every plank thunders with trampling feet right over Jonah’s head; in all this raging tumult, Jonah sleeps his hideous sleep.
- Nouns to which "hideous" is often applied: monster, creature, man, woman, face, thing, crime, form, death, aspect, spectacle, picture, roar, sound, manner, way, disease, mistake, shape, dress, fact, act, smile.
- Hungarian: förtelmes (hu)
- Icelandic: hræðilegur (is)
- Irish: in anchruth
- Italian: orribile (it), orrendo (it) m
- Japanese: please add this translation if you can
- Maori: weriweri
- Norwegian: fæl (no), stygg (no)
- Polish: ohydny (pl), obrzydliwy (pl)
- Portuguese: horrendo (pt), medonho (pt)
- Russian: стра́шный (ru) (strášnyj), ужа́сный (ru) (užásnyj), отврати́тельный (ru) (otvratítelʹnyj)
- Spanish: horrible (es), odioso (es), chocante, atemorizante (es), horrendo, espantoso (es) m
- Turkish: çirkin (tr), gudubet (tr)
- West Frisian: ûnsjoch
distressing or offensive to the ear
- Alternative form of hidous (“terrifying”)