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[nas-tee] /ˈnæs ti/
adjective, nastier, nastiest.
physically filthy; disgustingly unclean:
a nasty pigsty of a room.
offensive to taste or smell; nauseating.
offensive; objectionable:
a nasty habit.
vicious, spiteful, or ugly:
a nasty dog; a nasty rumor.
bad or hard to deal with, encounter, undergo, etc.; dangerous; serious:
a nasty cut; a nasty accident.
very unpleasant or disagreeable:
nasty weather.
morally filthy; obscene; indecent:
a nasty word.
Slang. formidable:
The young pitcher has a good fast ball and a nasty curve.
noun, plural nasties.
Informal. a nasty person or thing.
Origin of nasty
1350-1400; Middle English < ?
Related forms
nastily, adverb
nastiness, noun
1. dirty, foul, loathsome. 2. sickening, repulsive, repellent. 6. stormy, inclement. 7. smutty, pornographic.
1. clean, pure. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for nastily
Contemporary Examples
  • David Foster Wallace nastily imagined readers “under 40” asking about Updike, in a 1997 essay.

    Writing Off Updike Lee Siegel February 1, 2009
Historical Examples
  • (nastily spoken) I always said, if she came there would be trouble.

    Niobe, All Smiles

    Harry Paulton and Edward A. (Edward Antonio) Paulton
  • “I say though, but you kept it devilish dark,” he said, nastily.

    A Frontier Mystery Bertram Mitford
  • "When I want to hear your side of the story, I'll ask you for it," Goil said nastily.

    Jack of No Trades Charles Cottrell
  • "Doesn't take her mind off herself," suggested the doctor, nastily.

    Mavis of Green Hill Faith Baldwin
  • "You don't seem to have much confidence in your own medical opinions," he said nastily.

    In Jeopardy Van Tassel Sutphen
  • "I imagine our own people will be able to look after us," she answered quite as nastily.

    Through the Eye of the Needle William Dean Howells
  • The power of the bolt, which at once shines and smashes, is Jovian—not Rhodian, as Dizzy once nastily suggested.

  • The hand was a good deal more, difficult to manage; it was nastily crushed; though no bones were broken.

  • Her candle had burned down, and she nastily wrapped a shawl around her with trembling hands and hurried into the next room.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for nastily


adjective -tier, -tiest
unpleasant, offensive, or repugnant
(of an experience, condition, etc) unpleasant, dangerous, or painful: a nasty wound
spiteful, abusive, or ill-natured
obscene or indecent
(Brit, informal) nasty piece of work, a cruel or mean person
noun (pl) -ties
an offensive or unpleasant person or thing: a video nasty
Derived Forms
nastily, adverb
nastiness, noun
Word Origin
C14: origin obscure; probably related to Swedish dialect nasket and Dutch nestig dirty
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 nastily



c.1400, "foul, filthy, dirty, unclean," of unknown origin; perhaps [Barnhart] from Old French nastre "miserly, envious, malicious, spiteful," shortened form of villenastre "infamous, bad," from vilein "villain" + -astre, pejorative suffix, from Latin -aster.

Alternative etymology [OED] is from Dutch nestig "dirty," literally "like a bird's nest." Likely reinforced in either case by a Scandinavian source (cf. Swedish dialectal naskug "dirty, nasty"), which also might be the source of the Middle English word. Of weather, from 1630s; of things generally, "unpleasant, offensive," from 1705. Of people, "ill-tempered," from 1825. Noun meaning "something nasty" is from 1935. Related: Nastily; nastiness.

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



Good; stylish; admirable (1834+)


  1. Something unpleasant, repulsive, etc: pathos, poverty, and other real-life nasties (1971+)
  2. The sex act: We caught them doing the nasty in his bedroom
  3. A vicious person; villain: takes her family on a river trip, where they are taken prisoner by nasties/ a few of the nasties are scenery-chomping, world-class scum (1930s+)
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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