- bad or ill in the highest, greatest, or most extreme degree: the worst person.
- most faulty, unsatisfactory, or objectionable: the worst paper submitted.
- most unfavorable or injurious.
- in the poorest condition: the worst house on the block.
- most unpleasant, unattractive, or disagreeable: the worst personality I've ever known.
- most lacking in skill; least skilled: the worst typist in the group.
- that which is worst.
- in the most evil, wicked, severe, or disadvantageous manner.
- with the most severity, intensity, etc.; in the greatest degree.
- to defeat; beat: He worsted him easily.
- at worst, if the worst happens; under the worst conditions: He will be expelled from school, at worst.Also at the worst.
- get the worst of something, to be defeated by; lose: to get the worst of a fight.
- if worst comes to worst, if the very worst happens: If worst comes to worst, we still have some money in reserve.
- in the worst way, Informal. in an extreme degree; very much: She wanted a new robe for Christmas in the worst way.Also the worst way.
Origin of worst
- the superlative of bad 1
- in the most extreme or bad manner or degree
- least well, suitably, or acceptably
- (in combination) in or to the smallest degree or extent; leastworst-loved
- the worst the least good or most inferior person, thing, or part in a group, narrative, etc
- (often preceded by at) the most poor, unpleasant, or unskilled quality or conditiontelevision is at its worst these days
- the greatest amount of damage or wickedness of which a person or group is capablethe invaders came and did their worst
- the weakest effort or poorest achievement that a person or group is capable of makingthe applicant did his worst at the test because he did not want the job
- the worst
- in the least favourable interpretation or view
- under the least favourable conditions
- if the worst comes to the worst if all the more desirable alternatives become impossible or if the worst possible thing happens
- come off worst or get the worst of it to enjoy the least benefit from an issue or be defeated in it
- (tr) to get the advantage over; defeat or beat
Word Origin for worst
Old English wyrresta, from Proto-Germanic *wers-ista- (cf. Old Saxon wirsista, Old Norse verstr, Old Frisian wersta, Old High German wirsisto), superlative of PIE *wers- "to confuse, mix up" (see worse). Phrase in the worst way (1839) is from American English sense of "most severely."
"damage, inflict loss upon," c.1600, from worst (adj.). Related: Worsted; worsting.
if worst comes to worst
Also, if worse comes to worst. In the least favorable situation, if the worst possible outcome occurs. For example, If worst comes to worst and the budget is not approved, the government will shut down, or Go ahead and go to school with a cold; if worse comes to worst the teacher will send you home. This expression is nearly always followed by a solution. [Late 1500s]
see at worst; get (have) the worst of it; if worst comes to worst; in the worst way. Also see under worse.