[hawr-uh-buhl, hor-]


causing or tending to cause horror; shockingly dreadful: a horrible sight.
extremely unpleasant; deplorable; disgusting: horrible living conditions.

Origin of horrible

1275–1325; Middle English (h)orrible < Old French < Latin horribilis, equivalent to horr- (stem of horrēre to stand on end, bristle with fear) + -ibilis -ible
Related formshor·ri·ble·ness, nounhor·ri·bly, adverb

Synonyms for horrible

Antonyms for horrible

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

Examples from the Web for horrible

Contemporary Examples of horrible

Historical Examples of horrible

  • Robert was fully aware that he was exposing himself to a horrible death.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Some horrible accident might happen to delay us here thirty minutes.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "Let us face this horrible night as best we can," said Austin.


    William J. Locke

  • The horrible stiffness was somewhat broken, and all were seated.

  • It was horrible to think of her going into such abominable places—and all alone too!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for horrible



causing horror; dreadful
disagreeable; unpleasant
informal cruel or unkind
Derived Formshorribleness, noun

Word Origin for horrible

C14: via Old French from Latin horribilis, from horrēre to tremble
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 horrible

c.1300, from Old French horrible, orrible (12c.) "horrible, repugnant, terrifying," from Latin horribilis "terrible, fearful, dreadful," from horrere "to bristle with fear, shudder" (see horror). Used as a mere intensifier from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper