adjective, nas·ti·er, nas·ti·est.
  1. physically filthy; disgustingly unclean: a nasty pigsty of a room.
  2. offensive to taste or smell; nauseating.
  3. offensive; objectionable: a nasty habit.
  4. vicious, spiteful, or ugly: a nasty dog; a nasty rumor.
  5. bad or hard to deal with, encounter, undergo, etc.; dangerous; serious: a nasty cut; a nasty accident.
  6. very unpleasant or disagreeable: nasty weather.
  7. morally filthy; obscene; indecent: a nasty word.
  8. Slang. formidable: The young pitcher has a good fast ball and a nasty curve.
noun, plural nas·ties.
  1. Informal. a nasty person or thing.

Origin of nasty

1350–1400; Middle English < ?
Related formsnas·ti·ly, adverbnas·ti·ness, noun

Synonyms for nasty

Antonyms for nasty

1. clean, pure. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nastily

Contemporary Examples of nastily

  • David Foster Wallace nastily imagined readers “under 40” asking about Updike, in a 1997 essay.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Writing Off Updike

    Lee Siegel

    February 1, 2009

Historical Examples of nastily

  • (nastily spoken) I always said, if she came there would be trouble.

    Niobe, All Smiles

    Harry Paulton and Edward A. (Edward Antonio) Paulton

  • “I say though, but you kept it devilish dark,” he said, nastily.

    A Frontier Mystery

    Bertram Mitford

  • "When I want to hear your side of the story, I'll ask you for it," Goil said nastily.

    Jack of No Trades

    Charles Cottrell

  • "Doesn't take her mind off herself," suggested the doctor, nastily.

    Mavis of Green Hill

    Faith Baldwin

  • "You don't seem to have much confidence in your own medical opinions," he said nastily.

    In Jeopardy

    Van Tassel Sutphen

British Dictionary definitions for nastily


adjective -tier or -tiest
  1. unpleasant, offensive, or repugnant
  2. (of an experience, condition, etc) unpleasant, dangerous, or painfula nasty wound
  3. spiteful, abusive, or ill-natured
  4. obscene or indecent
  5. nasty piece of work British informal a cruel or mean person
noun plural -ties
  1. an offensive or unpleasant person or thinga video nasty
Derived Formsnastily, adverbnastiness, noun

Word Origin for nasty

C14: origin obscure; probably related to Swedish dialect nasket and Dutch nestig dirty
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 nastily



c.1400, "foul, filthy, dirty, unclean," of unknown origin; perhaps [Barnhart] from Old French nastre "miserly, envious, malicious, spiteful," shortened form of villenastre "infamous, bad," from vilein "villain" + -astre, pejorative suffix, from Latin -aster.

Alternative etymology [OED] is from Dutch nestig "dirty," literally "like a bird's nest." Likely reinforced in either case by a Scandinavian source (cf. Swedish dialectal naskug "dirty, nasty"), which also might be the source of the Middle English word. Of weather, from 1630s; of things generally, "unpleasant, offensive," from 1705. Of people, "ill-tempered," from 1825. Noun meaning "something nasty" is from 1935. Related: Nastily; nastiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper