[ bad ]
/ bæd /
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See synonyms for: bad / badder / baddest / bads on Thesaurus.com

adjective, worse, worst;(Slang) bad·der, bad·dest for 36.
adverb Informal.
badly: He wanted it bad enough to steal it.
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Idioms about bad

Origin of bad

First recorded in 1200–1250; Middle English badde, bad; origin uncertain; perhaps akin to Old English bæddel “hermaphrodite,” bædling “womanish man”

usage note for bad

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.

historical usage of bad

The etymology of bad is obscure, and the word has no relatives in other languages. The Middle English form badde is not clearly attested before 1300. Badde may derive from Old English bæddel, bǽddel “hermaphrodite” and bædling “womanish man.”
Bad off, in standard English now badly off, dates to the first half of the 18th century ( badly off dates to roughly the same time). The colloquialism my bad!, an Americanism, dates from the early 1980s.
Bad in its slang sense “excellent, first-rate” is surprisingly old, first appearing in print in the 1890s. It was then popularized in the 1920s within the jazz scene, and is typically associated with Black English. The slang sense “very tough, formidable” also appeared in the 19th century; it often meant “formidably skilled,” which ties in with the “excellent, first-rate” meaning.


badness, noun

Other definitions for bad (2 of 2)

[ bad ]
/ bæd /

verb Archaic.
a simple past tense of bid1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use bad in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bad (1 of 2)

/ (bæd) /

adjective worse or worst
not standard badlyto want something bad

Derived forms of bad

baddish, adjectivebadness, noun

Word Origin for bad

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

British Dictionary definitions for bad (2 of 2)

/ (bæd) /

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with bad


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.