- shockingly frightful or dreadful; horrible: a ghastly murder.
- resembling a ghost, especially in being very pale: a ghastly look to his face.
- terrible; very bad: a ghastly error.
- Also ghast·li·ly, ghast·i·ly. in a ghastly manner; horribly; terribly.
- with a deathlike quality.
Origin of ghastly
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for ghastly
And so those closest to the ghastly virus remain deaf to hashtags, and silent.Ebola Tweets Are Missing the Target
August 3, 2014
Watching her drown her sorrows in hooch and then get beat up by Crazy Eyes in the showers was ghastly…but great television.Inside ‘Orange Is the New Black’ S2, Eps. 6-12: About That Shocking Incest Scene
Kevin Fallon, Marlow Stern
June 20, 2014
Like Carina, she remembers a ghastly scene once the American soldiers withdrew.Remembering the Fall of Saigon and Vietnam’s Mass ‘Boat People’ Exodus
April 30, 2014
It was a ghastly tragedy that rattled a nation and became a byword for anti-Semitism in France.A Horror Story of True-Life Anti-Semitism in France
April 28, 2014
Certain sections of the battlefield,” he adds, “were littered with the ghastly remains of burnt-out tanks and incinerated crews.How the War Ended: WWI’s Last Hundred Days
February 26, 2014
The pain in the marshal's face became a ghastly thing to see.Way of the Lawless
It is a ghastly business, quite beyond words, this schooling.A Treatise on Parents and Children
George Bernard Shaw
Her face was ghastly, save for the trace of rouge; her eyes were red-rimmed.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
These blunders culminated in a ghastly mistake on the field.In the Midst of Alarms
It was such a pitiful, ghastly bluff—for the cards were all against him, and he knew it.Chip, of the Flying U
B. M. Bower
- informal very bad or unpleasant
- deathly pale; wan
- informal extremely unwell; illthey felt ghastly after the party
- terrifying; horrible
- unhealthily; sicklyghastly pale
- archaic in a horrible or hideous manner
Word Origin and History for ghastly
c.1300, gastlich, from gast (adj.), past participle of gasten "to frighten," from Old English gæstan "to torment, frighten" (see ghost) + -lich "-ly." Spelling with gh- developed 16c. from confusion with ghost. As an adverb, from 1580s. Related: Ghastliness.