- bad or ill in the highest, greatest, or most extreme degree: the worst person.
- most faulty, unsatisfactory, or objectionable: the worst paper submitted.
- most unfavorable or injurious.
- in the poorest condition: the worst house on the block.
- most unpleasant, unattractive, or disagreeable: the worst personality I've ever known.
- most lacking in skill; least skilled: the worst typist in the group.
- that which is worst.
- in the most evil, wicked, severe, or disadvantageous manner.
- with the most severity, intensity, etc.; in the greatest degree.
- to defeat; beat: He worsted him easily.
- at worst, if the worst happens; under the worst conditions: He will be expelled from school, at worst.Also at the worst.
- get the worst of something, to be defeated by; lose: to get the worst of a fight.
- if worst comes to worst, if the very worst happens: If worst comes to worst, we still have some money in reserve.
- in the worst way, Informal. in an extreme degree; very much: She wanted a new robe for Christmas in the worst way.Also the worst way.
Origin of worst
- the superlative of bad 1
- in the most extreme or bad manner or degree
- least well, suitably, or acceptably
- (in combination) in or to the smallest degree or extent; leastworst-loved
- the worst the least good or most inferior person, thing, or part in a group, narrative, etc
- (often preceded by at) the most poor, unpleasant, or unskilled quality or conditiontelevision is at its worst these days
- the greatest amount of damage or wickedness of which a person or group is capablethe invaders came and did their worst
- the weakest effort or poorest achievement that a person or group is capable of makingthe applicant did his worst at the test because he did not want the job
- the worst
- in the least favourable interpretation or view
- under the least favourable conditions
- if the worst comes to the worst if all the more desirable alternatives become impossible or if the worst possible thing happens
- come off worst or get the worst of it to enjoy the least benefit from an issue or be defeated in it
- (tr) to get the advantage over; defeat or beat
Word Origin and History for at worst
Old English wyrresta, from Proto-Germanic *wers-ista- (cf. Old Saxon wirsista, Old Norse verstr, Old Frisian wersta, Old High German wirsisto), superlative of PIE *wers- "to confuse, mix up" (see worse). Phrase in the worst way (1839) is from American English sense of "most severely."
"damage, inflict loss upon," c.1600, from worst (adj.). Related: Worsted; worsting.
Idioms and Phrases with at worst
Also, at the worst.
In the least favorable circumstance; under the most difficult conditions. For example, Convicted of taking a bribe, the official believed that at worst he would be sentenced to a few months in prison. [1500s]
In the least favorable view or supposition, as in No harm done; at the worst I'll copy the tax return again. Chaucer used this sense in Troilus and Cressida: “For at the worst, it may yet short our way.” [Late 1300s] For the antonym, see at best.
see at worst; get (have) the worst of it; if worst comes to worst; in the worst way. Also see under worse.