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



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

  1. (archaic) bristling, rough, rugged
    His haughtie Helmet. horrid all with gold,//Both glorious brightnesse and great terror bredd. - Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queen, I-vii-31
    Horrid with fern, and intricate with thorn. - John Dryden
    Ye grots and caverns shagg's with horrid thorn! - Alexander Pope, Eloisa to Abelard, I-20
  2. causing horror or dread
    Give colour to my pale cheek with thy blood,//that we the horrider may seem to those//Which chance to find us. - Shakespeare, Cymbeline, IV-ii
    I myself will be//The priest, and boldly do those horrid rites//You shake to think on. - John Fletcher, Sea Voyage, V-iv
    Not in the legions Of horrid hell. - Shakespeare, Macbeth, IV-iii
    What say you then to fair Sir Percivale,//And of the horrid foulness that he wrought? - Alfred Tennyson, Merlin and Vivien
  3. offensive, disagreeable, abominable, execrable
    1668 My Lord Chief Justice Keeling hath laid the constable by the heels to answer it next Sessions: which is a horrid shame. - Samuel Pepys, Diary, October 23
    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. - William Dampier, Voyages, I-362
    Already I your tears survey,//Already hear the horrid things they say. - Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock, IV-108

Usage notes[edit]

  • "Horrid" and "horrible" originally had different meanings, but have become almost synonymous over the years.