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[bad-er] /ˈbæd ər/
Slang. compar. of bad1 (def 36).
Nonstandard. a compar. of bad1 .


[bad] /bæd/
adjective, worse, worst; (Slang) badder, baddest for 36.
not good in any manner or degree.
having a wicked or evil character; morally reprehensible:
There is no such thing as a bad boy.
of poor or inferior quality; defective; deficient:
a bad diamond; a bad spark plug.
inadequate or below standard; not satisfactory for use:
bad heating; Living conditions in some areas are very bad.
inaccurate, incorrect, or faulty:
a bad guess.
invalid, unsound, or false:
a bad insurance claim; bad judgment.
causing or liable to cause sickness or ill health; injurious or harmful:
Too much sugar is bad for your teeth.
suffering from sickness, ill health, pain, or injury; sick; ill:
He felt bad from eating the green apples.
not healthy or in good physical condition; diseased, decayed, or physically weakened:
A bad heart kept him out of the army.
tainted, spoiled, or rotten, especially to the point of being inedible:
The meat is bad because you left it out of the refrigerator too long.
having a disastrous or detrimental effect, result, or tendency; unfavorable:
The drought is bad for the farmers. His sloppy appearance made a bad impression.
causing or characterized by discomfort, inconvenience, uneasiness, or annoyance; disagreeable; unpleasant:
I had a bad flight to Chicago.
easily provoked to anger; irascible:
a bad temper.
cross, irritable, or surly:
If I don't have my morning coffee, I'm in a bad mood all day.
more uncomfortable, persistent, painful, or dangerous than usual; severe:
a bad attack of asthma.
causing or resulting in disaster or severe damage or destruction:
a bad flood.
regretful, contrite, dejected, or upset:
He felt bad about having to leave the children all alone.
disobedient, naughty, or misbehaving:
If you're bad at school, you'll go to bed without supper.
disreputable or dishonorable:
He's getting a bad name from changing jobs so often.
displaying a lack of skill, talent, proficiency, or judgment:
a bad painting; Bad drivers cause most of the accidents.
causing distress; unfortunate or unfavorable:
I'm afraid I have bad news for you.
not suitable or appropriate; disadvantageous or dangerous:
It was a bad day for fishing.
inclement; considered too stormy, hot, cold, etc.:
We had a bad winter with a lot of snow.
disagreeable or offensive to the senses:
a bad odor.
exhibiting a lack of artistic sensitivity:
The room was decorated in bad taste.
not in keeping with a standard of behavior or conduct; coarse:
bad manners.
  1. vulgar, obscene, or blasphemous:
    bad language.
  2. not properly observing rules or customs of grammar, usage, spelling, etc.; incorrect:
    He speaks bad English.
unattractive, especially because of a lack of pleasing proportions:
She has a bad figure.
(of the complexion) marred by defects; pockmarked or pimply; blemished:
bad skin.
not profitable or worth the price paid:
The land was a bad buy.
Commerce. deemed uncollectible or irrecoverable and treated as a loss:
a bad debt.
ill-spent; wasted:
Don't throw good money after bad money.
counterfeit; not genuine:
There was a bad ten-dollar bill in with the change.
having the character of a villain; villainous:
In the movies the good guys always beat the bad guys.
Sports. failing to land within the in-bounds limits of a court or section of a court; missing the mark; not well aimed.
Slang. outstandingly excellent; first-rate:
He's a bad man on drums, and the fans love him.
that which is bad:
You have to take the bad with the good.
a bad condition, character, or quality:
His health seemed to go from bad to worse.
(used with a plural verb) evil persons collectively (usually preceded by the):
The bad are always stirring up trouble.
adverb, Informal.
He wanted it bad enough to steal it.
bad off, in poor or distressed condition or circumstances; destitute:
His family has been pretty bad off since he lost his job.
Also, badly off.
Compare well-off.
go to the bad, to deteriorate physically or morally; go to ruin:
She wept at seeing her son go to the bad.
in a bad way, in severe trouble or distress.
in bad, Informal.
  1. in trouble or distress.
  2. in disfavor:
    He's in bad with his father-in-law.
my bad, Slang. my fault! my mistake!
not bad,
  1. tolerably good; not without merit:
    The dinner wasn't bad, but I've had better.
  2. not difficult:
    Once you know geometry, trigonometry isn't bad.
Also, not so bad, not too bad.
too bad, unfortunate or disappointing:
It's too bad that he didn't go to college.
to the bad, in arrears:
He's $100 to the bad on his debt.
Origin of bad1
1250-1300; Middle English badde, perhaps akin to Old English bæddel hermaphrodite, bædling womanish man
Related forms
badness, noun
2. depraved, corrupt, base, sinful, criminal, atrocious. 10. putrefied. 21. adverse, unlucky, unhappy.
Synonym Study
2.Bad, evil, ill, wicked are closest in meaning in reference to that which is lacking in moral qualities or is actually vicious and reprehensible. Bad is the broadest and simplest term: a bad man; bad habits. Evil applies to that which violates or leads to the violation of moral law: evil practices. Ill now appears mainly in certain fixed expressions, with a milder implication than that in evil: ill will; ill-natured. Wicked implies willful and determined doing of what is very wrong: a wicked plan.
Usage note
The adjective bad meaning “unpleasant, unattractive, unfavorable, spoiled, etc.,” is the usual form to follow such copulative verbs as sound, smell, look, and taste: After the rainstorm the water tasted bad. The coach says the locker room smells bad. After the copulative verb feel, the adjective badly in reference to physical or emotional states is also used and is standard, although bad is more common in formal writing: I feel bad from overeating. She felt badly about her friend's misfortune.
When the adverbial use is required, badly is standard with all verbs: She reacted badly to the criticism. Bad as an adverb appears mainly in informal contexts: I didn't do too bad on the tests. He wants money so bad it hurts. See also badly, good. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for badder
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So down he sat and the more he thought about it the badder he felt.

  • badder seemed to admit more enormity than simply bad, “I—I went in the park to walk and I staid so long that—that––”

    A Modern Cinderella Amanda M. Douglas
  • She may even meet bolder and badder men than the policeman—Shall we then detain her?

    Mary, Mary James Stephens
  • Rather down; have been for a long time; getting badder and badder.

British Dictionary definitions for badder


adjective worse, worst
not good; of poor quality; inadequate; inferior: bad workmanship, bad soil, bad light for reading
(often foll by at) lacking skill or talent; incompetent: a bad painter, bad at sports
(often foll by for) harmful: bad air, smoking is bad for you
immoral; evil: a bad life
naughty; mischievous; disobedient: a bad child
rotten; decayed; spoiled: a bad egg
severe; intense: a bad headache
incorrect; wrong; faulty: bad pronunciation
ill or in pain (esp in the phrase feel bad)
regretful, sorry, or upset (esp in the phrase feel bad about)
unfavourable; distressing: bad news, a bad business
offensive; unpleasant; disagreeable: bad language, bad temper
not valid or sound; void: a bad cheque
not recoverable: a bad debt
(slang) badder, baddest. good; excellent
go from bad to worse, to deteriorate even more
go bad, to putrefy; spoil
(informal) in a bad way
  1. seriously ill, through sickness or injury
  2. in trouble of any kind
in someone's bad books, See book (sense 21)
make the best of a bad job, to manage as well as possible in unfavourable circumstances
(informal) not bad, not so bad, passable; fair; fairly good
(informal) not half bad, very good
(informal) too bad, (often used dismissively) regrettable
unfortunate or unpleasant events collectively (often in the phrase take the bad with the good)
an immoral or degenerate state (often in the phrase go to the bad)
the debit side of an account: £200 to the bad
(US & Canadian, informal) my bad, my fault or mistake
(not standard) badly: to want something bad
Derived Forms
baddish, adjective
badness, noun
Word Origin
C13: probably from bæd-, as the first element of Old English bǣddel hermaphrodite, bǣdling sodomite


a variant of bade
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 badder

obsolete or colloquial comparative of bad, common 14c.-18c.



c.1200, "inferior in quality;" early 13c., "wicked, evil, vicious," a mystery word with no apparent relatives in other languages.* Possibly from Old English derogatory term bæddel and its diminutive bædling "effeminate man, hermaphrodite, pederast," probably related to bædan "to defile." A rare word before 1400, and evil was more common in this sense until c.1700. Meaning "uncomfortable, sorry" is 1839, American English colloquial.

Comparable words in the other Indo-European languages tend to have grown from descriptions of specific qualities, such as "ugly," "defective," "weak," "faithless," "impudent," "crooked," "filthy" (e.g. Greek kakos, probably from the word for "excrement;" Russian plochoj, related to Old Church Slavonic plachu "wavering, timid;" Persian gast, Old Persian gasta-, related to gand "stench;" German schlecht, originally "level, straight, smooth," whence "simple, ordinary," then "bad").

Comparative and superlative forms badder, baddest were common 14c.-18c. and used as recently as Defoe (but not by Shakespeare), but yielded to comparative worse and superlative worst (which had belonged to evil and ill).

As a noun, late 14c., "evil, wickedness." In U.S. place names, sometimes translating native terms meaning "supernaturally dangerous." Ironic use as a word of approval is said to be at least since 1890s orally, originally in Black English, emerging in print 1928 in a jazz context. It might have emerged from the ambivalence of expressions like bad nigger, used as a term of reproach by whites, but among blacks sometimes representing one who stood up to injustice, but in the U.S. West bad man also had a certain ambivalence:

These are the men who do most of the killing in frontier communities, yet it is a noteworthy fact that the men who are killed generally deserve their fate. [Farmer & Henley]
*Farsi has bad in more or less the same sense as the English word, but this is regarded by linguists as a coincidence. The forms of the words diverge as they are traced back in time (Farsi bad comes from Middle Persian vat), and such accidental convergences exist across many languages, given the vast number of words in each and the limited range of sounds humans can make to signify them. Among other coincidental matches with English are Korean mani "many," Chinese pei "pay," Nahuatl (Aztecan) huel "well," Maya hol "hole."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for badder



Good; excellent; admirable: real bad licks/ bad man on drums •The use is attested from slavery times, when this sense was marked by a lengthened vowel and a falling tone in pronunciation (1920s+ esp black teenagers)

Related Terms

so bad one can taste it

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with badder
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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