adjective, superl. of bad and ill.
verb (used with object)
Origin of worst
Related Words for at worstslightly, somewhat, partially, carelessly, halfway, inadequately, incompletely, insufficiently, notably, piecemeal, relatively, measurably, noticeably
- in the least favourable interpretation or view
- under the least favourable conditions
Word Origin for 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.
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.