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From terrible +‎ -ly.


  • IPA(key): /ˈtɛɹ.ɪ.bli/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: ter‧ri‧bly


terribly (comparative more terribly, superlative most terribly)

  1. (literary or dated) So as to cause terror or awe.
    The lion roared terribly.
    • 1959, Anthony Burgess, Beds in the East (The Malayan Trilogy), published 1972, page 519:
      The mere sensuous impact of trumpet or saxophone, whatever it happened to be playing, was an echo, even though a faint echo, of that excitement and abandon. He wanted to taste, smell, hear: his senses were terribly alive.
  2. Very; extremely.
    He's terribly busy and you really shouldn't bother him.
    • 2011 December 15, Felicity Cloake, “How to cook the perfect nut roast”, in Guardian[1]:
      The parsnip, stilton and chestnut combination may taste good, but it's not terribly decorative. In fact, dull's the word, a lingering adjectival ghost of nut roasts past that I'm keen to banish from the table.
  3. Very badly.
    She took part in the karaoke, but sang terribly.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Adjectives to which "terribly" is often applied: wrong, sorry, important, difficult, hard, afraid, sad, bad, expensive, long, upset, exciting, fast, excited, slow, cold, hot, busy, concerned, pleased, interesting, painful, funny, lonely, ill, good, tired, strong, confused, serious, fond, old, angry, anxious, effective, depressed, familiar, attractive, happy, poor, hungry, sick, big, nice, small, dull, clever, dirty, proud, disappointing, sweet, original, ashamed, efficient, successful, jealous, simple, strange, cruel.