bad

1
[bad]

adjective, worse, worst; (Slang) bad·der, bad·dest for 36.

noun

adverb Informal.

badly: He wanted it bad enough to steal it.

Idioms

    bad off, in poor or distressed condition or circumstances; destitute: His family has been pretty bad off since he lost his job.Also badly off.Compare well-off.
    go to the bad, to deteriorate physically or morally; go to ruin: She wept at seeing her son go to the bad.
    in a bad way, in severe trouble or distress.
    in bad, Informal.
    1. in trouble or distress.
    2. in disfavor: He's in bad with his father-in-law.
    my bad, Slang. my fault! my mistake!
    not bad,
    1. tolerably good; not without merit: The dinner wasn't bad, but I've had better.
    2. not difficult: Once you know geometry, trigonometry isn't bad.
    Also not so bad, not too bad.
    too bad, unfortunate or disappointing: It's too bad that he didn't go to college.
    to the bad, in arrears: He's $100 to the bad on his debt.

Origin of bad

1
1250–1300; Middle English badde, perhaps akin to Old English bæddel hermaphrodite, bædling womanish man
Related formsbad·ness, noun

Synonyms for bad

Synonym study

2. Bad, evil, ill, wicked are closest in meaning in reference to that which is lacking in moral qualities or is actually vicious and reprehensible. Bad is the broadest and simplest term: a bad man; bad habits. Evil applies to that which violates or leads to the violation of moral law: evil practices. Ill now appears mainly in certain fixed expressions, with a milder implication than that in evil: ill will; ill-natured. Wicked implies willful and determined doing of what is very wrong: a wicked plan.

Usage note

The adjective bad meaning “unpleasant, unattractive, unfavorable, spoiled, etc.,” is the usual form to follow such copulative verbs as sound, smell, look, and taste: After the rainstorm the water tasted bad. The coach says the locker room smells bad. After the copulative verb feel, the adjective badly in reference to physical or emotional states is also used and is standard, although bad is more common in formal writing: I feel bad from overeating. She felt badly about her friend's misfortune.
When the adverbial use is required, badly is standard with all verbs: She reacted badly to the criticism. Bad as an adverb appears mainly in informal contexts: I didn't do too bad on the tests. He wants money so bad it hurts. See also badly, good.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for in a bad way

bad

1

adjective worse or worst

not good; of poor quality; inadequate; inferiorbad workmanship; bad soil; bad light for reading
(often foll by at) lacking skill or talent; incompetenta bad painter; bad at sports
(often foll by for) harmfulbad air; smoking is bad for you
immoral; evila bad life
naughty; mischievous; disobedienta bad child
rotten; decayed; spoileda bad egg
severe; intensea bad headache
incorrect; wrong; faultybad pronunciation
ill or in pain (esp in the phrase feel bad)
regretful, sorry, or upset (esp in the phrase feel bad about)
unfavourable; distressingbad news; a bad business
offensive; unpleasant; disagreeablebad language; bad temper
not valid or sound; voida bad cheque
not recoverablea bad debt
badder or baddest slang good; excellent
go from bad to worse to deteriorate even more
go bad to putrefy; spoil
in a bad way informal
  1. seriously ill, through sickness or injury
  2. in trouble of any kind
in someone's bad books See book (def. 21)
make the best of a bad job to manage as well as possible in unfavourable circumstances
not bad or not so bad informal passable; fair; fairly good
not half bad informal very good
too bad informal (often used dismissively) regrettable

noun

unfortunate or unpleasant events collectively (often in the phrase take the bad with the good)
an immoral or degenerate state (often in the phrase go to the bad)
the debit side of an account£200 to the bad
my bad US and Canadian informal my fault or mistake

adverb

not standard badlyto want something bad
Derived Formsbaddish, adjectivebadness, noun

Word Origin for bad

C13: probably from bæd-, as the first element of Old English bǣddel hermaphrodite, bǣdling sodomite

bad

2

verb

a variant of bade
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 in a bad way

bad

adj.

c.1200, "inferior in quality;" early 13c., "wicked, evil, vicious," a mystery word with no apparent relatives in other languages.* Possibly from Old English derogatory term bæddel and its diminutive bædling "effeminate man, hermaphrodite, pederast," probably related to bædan "to defile." A rare word before 1400, and evil was more common in this sense until c.1700. Meaning "uncomfortable, sorry" is 1839, American English colloquial.

Comparable words in the other Indo-European languages tend to have grown from descriptions of specific qualities, such as "ugly," "defective," "weak," "faithless," "impudent," "crooked," "filthy" (e.g. Greek kakos, probably from the word for "excrement;" Russian plochoj, related to Old Church Slavonic plachu "wavering, timid;" Persian gast, Old Persian gasta-, related to gand "stench;" German schlecht, originally "level, straight, smooth," whence "simple, ordinary," then "bad").

Comparative and superlative forms badder, baddest were common 14c.-18c. and used as recently as Defoe (but not by Shakespeare), but yielded to comparative worse and superlative worst (which had belonged to evil and ill).

As a noun, late 14c., "evil, wickedness." In U.S. place names, sometimes translating native terms meaning "supernaturally dangerous." Ironic use as a word of approval is said to be at least since 1890s orally, originally in Black English, emerging in print 1928 in a jazz context. It might have emerged from the ambivalence of expressions like bad nigger, used as a term of reproach by whites, but among blacks sometimes representing one who stood up to injustice, but in the U.S. West bad man also had a certain ambivalence:

These are the men who do most of the killing in frontier communities, yet it is a noteworthy fact that the men who are killed generally deserve their fate. [Farmer & Henley]

*Farsi has bad in more or less the same sense as the English word, but this is regarded by linguists as a coincidence. The forms of the words diverge as they are traced back in time (Farsi bad comes from Middle Persian vat), and such accidental convergences exist across many languages, given the vast number of words in each and the limited range of sounds humans can make to signify them. Among other coincidental matches with English are Korean mani "many," Chinese pei "pay," Nahuatl (Aztecan) huel "well," Maya hol "hole."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with in a bad way

in a bad way

In trouble; also, deteriorating. For example, If he can't get that bank loan he'll be in a bad way, or The business is in a bad way, with profits declining every month. [Early 1800s]

bad

In addition to the idioms beginning with bad

  • bad blood
  • bad egg
  • bad hair day
  • bad luck
  • badly off
  • bad mouth
  • bad name
  • bad news
  • bad off
  • bad sort, a
  • bad taste
  • bad time
  • bad trip

also see:

  • come to an end (bad end)
  • feel bad
  • from bad to worse
  • get off on the wrong foot (to a bad start)
  • give a bad name
  • give bad marks to
  • go bad
  • in a bad mood
  • in a bad way
  • in bad faith
  • in bad with someone
  • in someone's bad graces
  • leave a bad taste in one's mouth
  • make the best of (a bad bargain)
  • not a bad sort
  • not bad
  • poor (bad) taste
  • run of (bad) luck
  • too bad
  • turn up (like a bad penny)
  • with bad grace
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.