- distressing; severe: a terrible winter.
- extremely bad; horrible: terrible coffee; a terrible movie.
- exciting terror, awe, or great fear; dreadful; awful.
- formidably great: a terrible responsibility.
Origin of terrible
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for terrible
He returned home to learn that his 9-year-old son had been awakened in the night by a terrible dream.Choking Back Tears, Thousands of Cops Honor Fallen Officer Ramos
December 28, 2014
The birds are debeaked, suffer ulcers, and terrible feet conditions.The History of the Chicken: How This Humble Bird Saved Humanity
December 27, 2014
I knew because I rifled through his mail that terrible October morning.I Was Gang Raped at a UVA Frat 30 Years Ago, and No One Did Anything
December 16, 2014
These terrible roles tended to further underscore that she would always be best-known for wearing a dress.Happy 20th Birthday, Liz Hurley’s Safety-Pin Dress
December 12, 2014
Dr. Edwards does terrible things in the name of himself, though he at least also hates the evil cops.The Walking Dead’s ‘Crossed’: The Stage Is Now Set for a Bloody, Deadly Midseason Finale
November 24, 2014
But then, I always was a terrible poor judge of human nature.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
It is not necessary to dwell on every incident of this terrible journey.Explorations in Australia
The struggle to keep alive during the cold period was terrible.
The darkness of a terrible storm hid it from the eye of man.
Soon the news of his terrible deed spread throughout the land.
- very serious or extremea terrible cough
- informal of poor quality; unpleasant or bada terrible meal; a terrible play
- causing terror
- causing awethe terrible nature of God
Word Origin and History for terrible
early 15c., "causing terror, frightful," from Old French terrible (12c.), from Latin terribilis "frightful," from terrere "fill with fear," from PIE root *tres- "to tremble" (cf. Sanskrit trasati "trembles," Avestan tarshta "feared, revered," Greek treëin "to tremble," Lithuanian triseti "to tremble," Old Church Slavonic treso "I shake," Middle Irish tarrach "timid"). Weakened sense of "very bad, awful" is first attested 1590s.