[haw-ren-duhs, ho-]


shockingly dreadful; horrible: a horrendous crime.

Origin of horrendous

1650–60; < Latin horrendus dreadful, to be feared (gerund of horrēre to bristle, shudder), equivalent to horr- (akin to hirsute) + -endus gerund suffix
Related formshor·ren·dous·ly, adverb

Synonyms for horrendous

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for horrendous

Contemporary Examples of horrendous

Historical Examples of horrendous

  • Like some horrendous, watchful gargoyle, the Nipe crouched motionlessly on the shadowed roof of the low building.

    Anything You Can Do ...

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • As he shook he gave tone, emitting a most horrendous yell of pain and rage.

  • But a man alone, or at any rate a member of the human race alone, could compass an effect so horrendous.


    R. D. Blackmore

  • It was the most horrendous campaign, for sheer concentration, that had ever battered at the public mind.

    And All the Earth a Grave

    Carroll M. Capps (AKA C.C. MacApp)

  • The horrendous act of Jacob Miller, therefore, created a sensation.

    Anderson Crow, Detective

    George Barr McCutcheon

British Dictionary definitions for horrendous



another word for horrific
Derived Formshorrendously, adverb

Word Origin for horrendous

C17: from Latin horrendus fearful, from horrēre to bristle, shudder, tremble; see horror
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

Word Origin and History for horrendous

1650s, from Latin horrendus "dreadful, fearful, terrible," literally "to be shuddered at," gerundive of horrere "to bristle with fear, shudder" (see horror). Earlier form in English was horrend (mid-15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper