[ bad ]
See synonyms for: badbadderbaddestbads on

adjective,worse, worst;(Slang) bad·der, bad·dest for 36.
  1. not good in any manner or degree.

  2. having a wicked or evil character; morally reprehensible: There is no such thing as a bad boy.

  1. of poor or inferior quality; defective; deficient: a bad diamond;a bad spark plug.

  2. inadequate or below standard; not satisfactory for use: bad heating;Living conditions in some areas are very bad.

  3. inaccurate, incorrect, or faulty: a bad guess.

  4. invalid, unsound, or false: a bad insurance claim;bad judgment.

  5. causing or liable to cause sickness or ill health; injurious or harmful: Too much sugar is bad for your teeth.

  6. suffering from sickness, ill health, pain, or injury; sick; ill: He felt bad from eating the green apples.

  7. not healthy or in good physical condition; diseased, decayed, or physically weakened: A bad heart kept him out of the army.

  8. tainted, spoiled, or rotten, especially to the point of being inedible: The meat is bad because you left it out of the refrigerator too long.

  9. having a disastrous or detrimental effect, result, or tendency; unfavorable: The drought is bad for the farmers.His sloppy appearance made a bad impression.

  10. causing or characterized by discomfort, inconvenience, uneasiness, or annoyance; disagreeable; unpleasant: I had a bad flight to Chicago.

  11. easily provoked to anger; irascible: a bad temper.

  12. cross, irritable, or surly: If I don't have my morning coffee, I'm in a bad mood all day.

  13. more uncomfortable, persistent, painful, or dangerous than usual; severe: a bad attack of asthma.

  14. causing or resulting in disaster or severe damage or destruction: a bad flood.

  15. regretful, contrite, dejected, or upset: He felt bad about having to leave the children all alone.

  16. disobedient, naughty, or misbehaving: If you're bad at school, you'll go to bed without supper.

  17. disreputable or dishonorable: He's getting a bad name from changing jobs so often.

  18. displaying a lack of skill, talent, proficiency, or judgment: a bad painting;Bad drivers cause most of the accidents.

  19. causing distress; unfortunate or unfavorable: I'm afraid I have bad news for you.

  20. not suitable or appropriate; disadvantageous or dangerous: It was a bad day for fishing.

  21. inclement; considered too stormy, hot, cold, etc.: We had a bad winter with a lot of snow.

  22. disagreeable or offensive to the senses: a bad odor.

  23. exhibiting a lack of artistic sensitivity: The room was decorated in bad taste.

  24. not in keeping with a standard of behavior or conduct; coarse: bad manners.

  25. (of a word, speech, or writing)

    • vulgar, obscene, or blasphemous: bad language.

    • not properly observing rules or customs of grammar, usage, spelling, etc.; incorrect: He speaks bad English.

  26. unattractive, especially because of a lack of pleasing proportions: She has a bad figure.

  27. (of the complexion) marred by defects; pockmarked or pimply; blemished: bad skin.

  28. not profitable or worth the price paid: The land was a bad buy.

  29. Commerce. deemed uncollectible or irrecoverable and treated as a loss: a bad debt.

  30. ill-spent; wasted:Don't throw good money after bad money.

  31. counterfeit; not genuine: There was a bad ten-dollar bill in with the change.

  32. having the character of a villain; villainous: In the movies the good guys always beat the bad guys.

  33. Sports. failing to land within the in-bounds limits of a court or section of a court; missing the mark; not well aimed.

  34. Slang. outstandingly excellent; first-rate: He's a bad man on drums, and the fans love him.

  1. that which is bad: You have to take the bad with the good.

  2. a bad condition, character, or quality: His health seemed to go from bad to worse.

  1. Usually the bad .(used with a plural verb) evil persons collectively: The bad are always stirring up trouble.

  1. badly: He wanted it bad enough to steal it.

Idioms about bad

  1. bad off, in poor or distressed condition or circumstances; destitute: His family has been pretty bad off since he lost his job.: Also badly off. Compare well-off.

  2. go to the bad, to deteriorate physically or morally; go to ruin: She wept at seeing her son go to the bad.

  1. in a bad way, in severe trouble or distress.

  2. in bad, Informal.

    • in trouble or distress.

    • in disfavor: He's in bad with his father-in-law.

  3. my bad, Slang. my fault! my mistake!

  4. not bad, : Also not so bad, not too bad.

    • tolerably good; not without merit: The dinner wasn't bad, but I've had better.

    • not difficult: Once you know geometry, trigonometry isn't bad.

  5. too bad, unfortunate or disappointing: It's too bad that he didn't go to college.

  6. to the bad, in arrears: He's $100 to the bad on his debt.

Origin of bad

First recorded in 1200–1250; Middle English badde, bad; origin uncertain; perhaps akin to Old English bæddel “hermaphrodite,” bædling “womanish man”

usage note For bad

The adjective bad meaning “unpleasant, unattractive, unfavorable, spoiled, etc.,” is the usual form to follow such copulative verbs as sound, smell, look, and taste: After the rainstorm the water tasted bad. The coach says the locker room smells bad. After the copulative verb feel, the adjective badly in reference to physical or emotional states is also used and is standard, although bad is more common in formal writing: I feel bad from overeating. She felt badly about her friend's misfortune.
When the adverbial use is required, badly is standard with all verbs: She reacted badly to the criticism. Bad as an adverb appears mainly in informal contexts: I didn't do too bad on the tests. He wants money so bad it hurts. See also badly, good.

word story For bad

The etymology of bad is obscure, and the word has no relatives in other languages. The Middle English form badde is not clearly attested before 1300. Badde may derive from Old English bæddel, bǽddel “hermaphrodite” and bædling “womanish man.”
Bad off, in standard English now badly off, dates to the first half of the 18th century ( badly off dates to roughly the same time). The colloquialism my bad!, an Americanism, dates from the early 1980s.
Bad in its slang sense “excellent, first-rate” is surprisingly old, first appearing in print in the 1890s. It was then popularized in the 1920s within the jazz scene, and is typically associated with Black English. The slang sense “very tough, formidable” also appeared in the 19th century; it often meant “formidably skilled,” which ties in with the “excellent, first-rate” meaning.

Other words for bad

Other words from bad

  • bad·ness, noun

Words Nearby bad

Other definitions for bad (2 of 2)

[ bad ]

  1. a simple past tense of bid1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use bad in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bad (1 of 2)


/ (bæd) /

adjectiveworse or worst
  1. not good; of poor quality; inadequate; inferior: bad workmanship; bad soil; bad light for reading

  2. (often foll by at) lacking skill or talent; incompetent: a bad painter; bad at sports

  1. (often foll by for) harmful: bad air; smoking is bad for you

  2. immoral; evil: a bad life

  3. naughty; mischievous; disobedient: a bad child

  4. rotten; decayed; spoiled: a bad egg

  5. severe; intense: a bad headache

  6. incorrect; wrong; faulty: bad pronunciation

  7. ill or in pain (esp in the phrase feel bad)

  8. regretful, sorry, or upset (esp in the phrase feel bad about)

  9. unfavourable; distressing: bad news; a bad business

  10. offensive; unpleasant; disagreeable: bad language; bad temper

  11. not valid or sound; void: a bad cheque

  12. not recoverable: a bad debt

  13. badder or baddest slang good; excellent

  14. go from bad to worse to deteriorate even more

  15. go bad to putrefy; spoil

  16. in a bad way informal

    • seriously ill, through sickness or injury

    • in trouble of any kind

  17. in someone's bad books See book (def. 21)

  18. make the best of a bad job to manage as well as possible in unfavourable circumstances

  19. not bad or not so bad informal passable; fair; fairly good

  20. not half bad informal very good

  21. too bad informal (often used dismissively) regrettable

  1. unfortunate or unpleasant events collectively (often in the phrase take the bad with the good)

  2. an immoral or degenerate state (often in the phrase go to the bad)

  1. the debit side of an account: £200 to the bad

  2. my bad US and Canadian informal my fault or mistake

  1. not standard badly: to want something bad

Origin of bad

C13: probably from bæd-, as the first element of Old English bǣddel hermaphrodite, bǣdling sodomite

Derived forms of bad

  • baddish, adjective
  • badness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for bad (2 of 2)


/ (bæd) /

  1. a variant of bade

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with bad


In addition to the idioms beginning with bad

  • bad blood
  • bad egg
  • bad hair day
  • bad luck
  • badly off
  • bad mouth
  • bad name
  • bad news
  • bad off
  • bad sort, a
  • bad taste
  • bad time
  • bad trip

also see:

  • come to an end (bad end)
  • feel bad
  • from bad to worse
  • get off on the wrong foot (to a bad start)
  • give a bad name
  • give bad marks to
  • go bad
  • in a bad mood
  • in a bad way
  • in bad faith
  • in bad with someone
  • in someone's bad graces
  • leave a bad taste in one's mouth
  • make the best of (a bad bargain)
  • not a bad sort
  • not bad
  • poor (bad) taste
  • run of (bad) luck
  • too bad
  • turn up (like a bad penny)
  • with bad grace

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.