adjective, ghast·li·er, ghast·li·est.
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OTHER WORDS FROM ghastlyghast·li·ness, noun
Words nearby ghastly
What does ghastly mean?
Ghastly means dreadful, horrible, terrible, or shockingly frightful.
Ghastly is more common in everyday usage in the U.K. than in the U.S., but it is used in the same ways in both places. It can be applied in a range of serious and not-so-serious ways.
Ghastly can also mean resembling a ghost due to being very pale. Less commonly, it can be used as an adverb.
Example: Our dinner was positively ghastly—all the food was underseasoned and overcooked until it was nearly inedible.
Where does ghastly come from?
The first records of ghastly come from around the 1300s. Both ghastly and the related word aghast (meaning “filled with shock or horror”) derive from the Old English gǣstan, meaning “to frighten.” The word ghost is related, as is the geist in poltergeist.
Unsurprisingly, given its etymology, ghastly was first used to mean “terrifying” or “causing horror.” Today, it is still often used to describe things that are truly horrific, as in ghastly violence. But it is also commonly used in less serious situations in which we might otherwise use horrible, dreadful, or awful, especially relating to the quality of something or how it looks. When we say this coffee is ghastly, we mean it tastes very bad. When we call someone’s shoes ghastly, we’re saying they’re unfashionable to the point of being ugly, even hideous. When we wake up feeling ghastly, it means we’re feeling very unwell. In this case, we might also look ghastly—pale and sickly.
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What are some other forms related to ghastly?
- ghastlier (adjective, comparative form)
- ghastliest (adjective, superlative form)
- ghastliness (noun)
- ghastlily (adverb)
- ghastily (adverb)
What are some synonyms for ghastly?
What are some words that share a root or word element with ghastly?
What are some words that often get used in discussing ghastly?
What are some words ghastly may be commonly confused with?
How is ghastly used in real life?
English speakers in the U.K. are more likely to use ghastly than those in the U.S., where the word may sound somewhat formal.
Waiting for flight, ghastly food, ghastly coffee, even ghastlier people!
— Steve Wheeler (@SteveWheeler1) June 8, 2009
I removed a browser extension that converted my twitter to the old twitter and this twitter redesign is ghastly. Have you all been using this for months? No wonder people are so mean on here.
— Barbara Smith (@nanaslugdiva) March 5, 2020
This may surprise some, but I absolutely love bowling shoes. Yes, they may look positively ghastly on some, but obviously I make them work.
— Uncle Deadly (@unclebydeadly) August 5, 2018
Try using ghastly!
Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of ghastly?
Example sentences from the Web for ghastly
And so those closest to the ghastly virus remain deaf to hashtags, and silent.
Watching her drown her sorrows in hooch and then get beat up by Crazy Eyes in the showers was ghastly…but great television.Inside ‘Orange Is the New Black’ S2, Eps. 6-12: About That Shocking Incest Scene|Kevin Fallon, Marlow Stern|June 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Like Carina, she remembers a ghastly scene once the American soldiers withdrew.Remembering the Fall of Saigon and Vietnam’s Mass ‘Boat People’ Exodus|Katie Baker|April 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It was a ghastly tragedy that rattled a nation and became a byword for anti-Semitism in France.A Horror Story of True-Life Anti-Semitism in France|Tracy McNicoll|April 28, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Certain sections of the battlefield,” he adds, “were littered with the ghastly remains of burnt-out tanks and incinerated crews.
Ghastly images are before us and around us, the mystic symbols of a horrid religion!The Scalp Hunters|Mayne Reid
He sagged and swayed for an instant; there was a ghastly, ragged, spongy gap between his shoulders.The Red Debt|Everett MacDonald
A minute of ghastly quiet followed, a horrible minute that seemed as long as a year.For the School Colours|Angela Brazil
Under his searching gaze her face grew pale and ghastly as that upon the couch.At the Time Appointed|A. Maynard Barbour
Two ghastly weeks in New York, playing to a papered house or empty seats, and the company took to the coal regions.My Actor-Husband|Anonymous