[ bad-lee ]
See synonyms for: badlyworseworst on

adverb,worse, worst.
  1. in a defective, incorrect, or undesirable way:The car runs badly.

  2. in an unsatisfactory, inadequate, or unskilled manner: a vague, badly written letter; He paints badly.

  1. unfavorably: His neighbors spoke badly of him. The weather turned out badly for the cruise.

  2. in a wicked, evil, or morally or legally wrong way.

  3. in a disobedient, naughty, or ethically or socially wrong way: He treats his parents badly.

  4. very much; to a great extent or degree: a house badly in need of repair; to want something badly.

  5. severely; direly: to be injured badly.

  6. with great distress, resentment, regret, or emotional display: She took the news of her mother's death badly.

  1. in ill health; sick: He felt badly.

  2. sorry; regretful: I feel badly about your reaction to my remark.

Idioms about badly

  1. badly off. bad1 (def. 41).

Origin of badly

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English baddeli, baddeliche, badli(che) “wickedly, evilly, poorly”; see origin at bad1, -ly

usage note For badly

In the sense “very much,” badly is fully standard: He needs help badly. See also bad1.

Words that may be confused with badly

  • bad, badly (see usage note at the current entry)

Words Nearby badly Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use badly in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for badly


/ (ˈbædlɪ) /

adverbworse or worst
  1. poorly; defectively; inadequately: the chair is badly made

  2. unfavourably; unsuccessfully; unfortunately: our scheme worked out badly

  1. severely; gravely: he was badly hurt

  2. incorrectly or inaccurately: to speak German badly

  3. improperly; naughtily; wickedly: to behave badly

  4. without humanity; cruelly: to treat someone badly

  5. very much (esp in the phrases need badly, badly in need of, want badly)

  6. regretfully: he felt badly about it

  7. badly off poor; impoverished

  1. (postpositive) Northern English dialect ill; poorly

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