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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.