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Borrowed from Latin horridus (rough, bristly, savage, shaggy, rude), from horrere (to bristle). See horrent, horror, ordure.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈhɒɹɪd/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈhɔɹɪd/
  • (file)


horrid (comparative horrider or more horrid, superlative horridest or most horrid)

  1. (archaic) Bristling, rough, rugged.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queen, I-vii-31, 2007, A. C. Hamilton (editor), Spenser: The Faerie Qveene, Revised 2nd Edition, page 98,
      His haughtie Helmet, horrid all with gold, // Both glorious brightnesse and great terror bredd.
    • 1637, John Milton, Comus (A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634), 1852, Henry John Todd (editor), The Poetical Works of John Milton, Volume 4, 5th Edition, page 113,
      Yea there, where very Desolation dwells, / By grots and caverns shagg'd with horrid shades, / She may pass on with unblench'd majesty, / Be it not done in pride, or in presumption.
    • 1697, John Dryden, The Works of Virgil: Aeneis, Book IX, 1779, The Works of the English Poets, Volume 18: Dryden's Virgil: Volume II, page 248,
      Horrid with fern, and intricate with thorn, / Few paths of human feet, or tracks of beasts, were worn.
  2. Causing horror or dread.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:frightening
  3. Offensive, disagreeable, abominable, execrable.
    horrid weather
    The other girls in class are always horrid to Jane.
    • 1668 October 23, Samuel Pepys, Diary, 1858, Diary and Correspondence of Samuel Pepys, F.R.S., Volume 4, 6th Edition, page 39,
      My Lord Chief Justice Keeling hath laid the constable by the heels to answer it next Sessions: which is a horrid shame.
    • 1649, William Dampier, A New Voyage Round The World[2], page 362:
      About the middle of November we began to work on our Ship's bottom, which we found very much eaten with the Worm: For this is a horrid place for Worms.
    • 1714, Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock, Canto IV, 1836, The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope, Esq., page 68,
      Methinks already I your tears survey, / Already hear the horrid things they say,

Usage notes[edit]

  • According to OED, horrid and horrible were originally almost synonymous, but in modern use horrid is somewhat less strong and tending towards the "offensive, disagreeable" sense.[1]


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