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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for horribleness
Historical Examples
  • It looked so nice and comfortable, compared with the horribleness outside.

    Peterkin Mary Louisa Molesworth
  • Amidst the horribleness of the dead, the men fought and lived.

    Australia in Arms Phillip F.E. Schuler
  • The horribleness of thus bidding for Bethulah flashed on me even as I spoke.

    Ghetto Tragedies Israel Zangwill
  • He knew they spoke of the horribleness of death; but what was the cold script to the actuality?

    The Yotsuya Kwaidan or O'Iwa Inari James S. De Benneville
  • Cain's words therefore are here to be understood affirmatively, and they show the horribleness of his despair.

  • But somehow the blind men themselves seldom seem to be overwhelmed by its horribleness.

  • If I have one horror on earth which transcends all other horrors in horribleness, that horror is—pirates.

    Under the Waves R M Ballantyne
  • He could not tell what fears had crowded upon him—they were indistinct in their horribleness—but some of them had already flown.

    A Black Adonis

    Linn Boyd Porter
British Dictionary definitions for horribleness


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 horribleness



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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