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[hawr-uh-buh l, hor-] /ˈhɔr ə bəl, ˈhɒr-/
causing or tending to cause horror; shockingly dreadful:
a horrible sight.
extremely unpleasant; deplorable; disgusting:
horrible living conditions.
Origin of horrible
1275-1325; Middle English (h)orrible < Old French < Latin horribilis, equivalent to horr- (stem of horrēre to stand on end, bristle with fear) + -ibilis -ible
Related forms
horribleness, noun
horribly, adverb
1. terrible, awful, appalling, frightful; hideous, grim, ghastly, shocking, revolting, repulsive, horrid, horrendous, horrifying, repellent.
1. attractive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for horrible
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Robert was fully aware that he was exposing himself to a horrible death.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Some horrible accident might happen to delay us here thirty minutes.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • "Let us face this horrible night as best we can," said Austin.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • The horrible stiffness was somewhat broken, and all were seated.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • It was horrible to think of her going into such abominable places—and all alone too!

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
British Dictionary definitions for horrible


causing horror; dreadful
disagreeable; unpleasant
(informal) cruel or unkind
Derived Forms
horribleness, noun
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin horribilis, from horrēre to tremble
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 horrible

c.1300, from Old French horrible, orrible (12c.) "horrible, repugnant, terrifying," from Latin horribilis "terrible, fearful, dreadful," from horrere "to bristle with fear, shudder" (see horror). Used as a mere intensifier from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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