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[uh-troh-shuh s] /əˈtroʊ ʃəs/
extremely or shockingly wicked, cruel, or brutal:
an atrocious crime.
shockingly bad or tasteless; dreadful; abominable:
an atrocious painting; atrocious manners.
Origin of atrocious
First recorded in 1660-70; atroci(ty) + -ous
Related forms
atrociously, adverb
atrociousness, noun
1. felonious, heinous, monstrous, diabolical, devilish. 2. execrable; detestable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for atrociously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As if that were not wild enough, they mispronounce it atrociously.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • I have always had a kindly feeling for him, though I feel that he used me atrociously.

    The Stark Munro Letters J. Stark Munro
  • I did not know how soon and how atrociously my belief was to be justified.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • Well, your French accent is so atrociously bad, I don't wonder!

  • He could see him leaning over the balustrade and smiling at him atrociously.

    The Combined Maze May Sinclair
  • I never heard any one, even a child of ten, read so atrociously.

    The Story of My Life, volumes 4-6 Augustus J. C. Hare
  • Esther, that is a charming emerald you are wearing but it is atrociously set.

    Dodo's Daughter E. F. Benson
  • That they played it atrociously out of tune is unimportant to the issue.

    Our Square and the People in It Samuel Hopkins Adams
British Dictionary definitions for atrociously


extremely cruel or wicked; ruthless: atrocious deeds
horrifying or shocking: an atrocious road accident
(informal) very bad; detestable: atrocious writing
Derived Forms
atrociously, adverb
atrociousness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin ātrōx dreadful, from āter black
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for atrociously



1660s, from stem of Latin atrox "fierce, savage, cruel" (see atrocity) + -ous. Colloquial sense "very bad" is late 19c. Related: Atrociously; atrociousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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