[ dred-fuhl ]
/ ˈdrɛd fəl /


causing great dread, fear, or terror; terrible: a dreadful storm.
inspiring awe or reverence.
extremely bad, unpleasant, or ugly: dreadful cooking; a dreadful hat.

noun British.

a periodical given to highly sensational matter.

Origin of dreadful

First recorded in 1175–1225, dreadful is from the Middle English word dredful. See dread, -ful

Related forms

dread·ful·ness, nounqua·si-dread·ful, adjectivequa·si-dread·ful·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dreadful

British Dictionary definitions for dreadful


/ (ˈdrɛdfʊl) /


extremely disagreeable, shocking, or badwhat a dreadful play
(intensifier)this is a dreadful waste of time
causing dread; terrifying
archaic inspiring awe

Derived Forms

dreadfulness, noun
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