frightful or hideous, especially in appearance; extremely ugly.
shocking or revolting; outrageous: monstrous cruelty.
extraordinarily great; huge; immense: a monstrous building.
deviating grotesquely from the natural or normal form or type.
having the nature or appearance of a fabulous monster.


extremely; exceedingly; very.

Origin of monstrous

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Latin word mōnstrōsus. See monster, -ous
Related formsmon·strous·ly, adverbmon·strous·ness, noun

Synonyms for monstrous

1, 2. horrible, atrocious. 3. See gigantic. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for monstrousness

Contemporary Examples of monstrousness

  • But he also spared Hitler and Stalin: keeping them human only magnified their monstrousness.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Man With the Sharpest Pen

    David Margolick

    December 30, 2009

Historical Examples of monstrousness

  • We've often talked of such things: of the monstrousness of useless sacrifices.

    The Reef

    Edith Wharton

  • Tuckham stood bursting at the monstrousness of such a statement.

  • To attempt the least description would be a presumption of the first monstrousness.'


    Fanny Burney

  • You can stand the need for monstrousness for a long while yet!

    The Hate Disease

    William Fitzgerald Jenkins

  • He wished to protest, to cry out against the monstrousness of what was happening.

    The Purple Heights

    Marie Conway Oemler

British Dictionary definitions for monstrousness



abnormal, hideous, or unnatural in size, character, etc
(of plants and animals) abnormal in structure
outrageous, atrocious, or shockingit is monstrous how badly he is treated
hugea monstrous fire
of, relating to, or resembling a monster
Derived Formsmonstrously, adverbmonstrousness, noun
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 monstrousness



mid-15c., "unnatural, deviating from the natural order, hideous," from Middle French monstrueux, from Latin monstruosus "strange, unnatural, monstrous," from monstrum (see monster). Meaning "enormous" is from c.1500; that of "outrageously wrong" is from 1570s. Earlier form monstruous (late 14c., from Old French monstruous) was "very common in the 16th c." [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper