terrible

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English terrible, from Old French, from Latin terribilis (frightful), from terreō (I frighten, terrify, alarm; I deter by terror, scare (away)). Compare terror, deter.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈtɛɹəbəl/, /ˈtɛɹɪbəl/
  • (file)
  • Homophone: tearable, in some accents

Adjective[edit]

terrible (comparative terribler or more terrible, superlative terriblest or most terrible)

  1. Dreadful; causing terror, alarm and fear; awesome
    The witch laid a terrible curse on him.
    • 1950, C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
      People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time. If the children had ever thought so, they were cured of it now. For when they tried to look at Aslan's face they just caught a glimpse of the golden mane and the great, royal, solemn, overwhelming eyes; and then they found they couldn't look at him and went all trembly.
  2. Formidable, powerful.
    • 1883: Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
      [] and there was even a party of the younger men who pretended to admire him, calling him a "true sea-dog," and "real old salt," and such-like names, and saying there was the sort of man that made England terrible at sea.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 96:
      "He is the right sort of man for a labourer, but he is a terrible eater, to be sure," thought the farmer.
  3. Intense; extreme in degree or extent.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 18, in The China Governess[1]:
      ‘Then the father has a great fight with his terrible conscience,’ said Munday with granite seriousness. ‘Should he make a row with the police […]? Or should he say nothing about it and condone brutality for fear of appearing in the newspapers?
    He paid a terrible price for his life of drinking.
  4. Unpleasant; disagreeable.
    The food was terrible, but it was free.
  5. Very bad; lousy.
    • 2012 April 26, Tasha Robinson, “Film: Reviews: The Pirates! Band Of Misfits”, in The Onion AV Club:
      The openly ridiculous plot has The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) scheming to win the Pirate Of The Year competition, even though he’s a terrible pirate, far outclassed by rivals voiced by Jeremy Piven and Salma Hayek.
    Whatever he thinks, he is a terrible driver.

Synonyms[edit]

Antonyms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Adverb[edit]

terrible (comparative more terrible, superlative most terrible)

  1. (colloquial, dialect) In a terrible way; to a terrible extent; terribly; awfully.

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Catalan[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin terribilis.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

terrible (masculine and feminine plural terribles)

  1. terrible (causing fear)
  2. terrible (formidable, intense)

French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Latin terribilis.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

terrible (plural terribles)

  1. (all senses) terrible
    • 1837, Louis Viardot, L’Ingénieux Hidalgo Don Quichotte de la Manchefr.Wikisource, translation of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Chapter II:
      Mais à peine se vit-il en chemin qu’une pensée terrible l’assaillit, et telle, que peu s’en fallut qu’elle ne lui fît abandonner l’entreprise commencée.
      But scarcely did he see himself on the road when a terrible thought assaulted him, and such that little was missing to make him abandon the enterprise he had started.
  2. (colloquial) great, excellent

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Further reading[edit]


Spanish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Latin terribilis. Cognate with English terrible.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /teˈrible/, [t̪eˈri.β̞le]
  • Hyphenation: te‧rri‧ble

Adjective[edit]

terrible (plural terribles)

  1. terrible, awful, horrible (very bad)
  2. appalling (shocking, causing consternation)
  3. terrific (very great or intense)
    Los jóvenes de hoy en día están bajo estrés terrible.Today's young people are under terrific stress.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]