adjective, compar. of bad and ill.
Origin of worse
adjective, worse, worst; ill·er, ill·est for 7.
Origin of ill
Synonyms for ill
Antonyms for ill
adjective, worse, worst; (Slang) bad·der, bad·dest for 36.
- vulgar, obscene, or blasphemous: bad language.
- not properly observing rules or customs of grammar, usage, spelling, etc.; incorrect: He speaks bad English.
- in trouble or distress.
- in disfavor: He's in bad with his father-in-law.
- tolerably good; not without merit: The dinner wasn't bad, but I've had better.
- not difficult: Once you know geometry, trigonometry isn't bad.
Origin of bad1
Synonyms for bad
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.
adverb, worse, worst.
Origin of badly
Examples from the Web for worse
Contemporary Examples of worse
A Republican candidate hoping to win red state support could find a worse team to root for than one from Dallas.Will Chris Christie Regret His Cowboy Hug?
January 5, 2015
The headaches, fevers (and worse) you may experience on Thursday are nothing new.History's Craziest Hangover Cures
December 30, 2014
Worse still is how much of this is being made into performance.Public Marriage Proposals Must Die
December 28, 2014
The Pew poll also found most African Americans expect relations between police and minorities will actually get worse.Dr. Howard Fuller's Injustice Education
December 21, 2014
Americans are giving in to North Korean blackmail—and it will only get worse.The Sony Hack and America’s Craven Capitulation To Terror
December 19, 2014
Historical Examples of worse
And you need it worse'n ever he did, if I got you sized up right.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
This man who calls himself my husband is no worse, I suppose, than other men.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Dark pictures and gloomy forebodings are worse than useless.
And if Mr. Lovelace should follow me, things might be worse than they are now.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
Then, while they wondered whether they might risk it, he got worse.Life and Death of Harriett Frean
Word Origin for worse
adverb worse or worst
adjective worse or worst
Word Origin for ill
adjective worse or worst
- seriously ill, through sickness or injury
- in trouble of any kind
Word Origin for bad
Old English wiersa, wyrsa, from Proto-Germanic *wers-izon- (cf. Old Saxon wirs, Old Norse verri, Swedish värre, Old Frisian wirra, Old High German wirsiro, Gothic wairsiza "worse"), comparative of PIE *wers- "to confuse, mix up" (cf. Old High German werra "strife," Old Saxon werran "to entangle, compound;" see war). Used as a comparative of bad, evil, ill or as the opposite of better. Phrase for better or for worse is attested from late 14c. (for bet, for wers); to change for the worse is recorded from c.1400.
c.1200, "morally evil" (other 13c. senses were "malevolent, hurtful, unfortunate, difficult"), from Old Norse illr "ill, bad," of unknown origin. Not related to evil. Main modern sense of "sick, unhealthy, unwell" is first recorded mid-15c., probably related to Old Norse idiom "it is bad to me." Slang inverted sense of "very good, cool" is 1980s. As a noun, "something evil," from mid-13c.
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."
early 13c., "to do evil to," from ill (adj.). Meaing "to speak disparagingly" is from 1520s. Related: Illed; illing.
c.1200, "wickedly; with hostility;" see ill (adj.). Meaning "not well, poorly" is from c.1300. It generally has not shifted to the realm of physical sickess, as the adjective has done. Ill-fated recorded from 1710; ill-informed from 1824; ill-tempered from c.1600; ill-starred from c.1600. Generally contrasted with well, hence the useful, but now obsolete or obscure illcome (1570s), illfare (c.1300), and illth.
In addition to the idiom beginning with worse
- worse for wear
- all the (worse)
- bark is worse than one's bite
- fate worse than death
- for better or for worse
- from bad to worse
- if worst comes to worst
- none the worse
- take a turn for the better (worse)
Also see underworst.
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
- 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
In addition to the idioms beginning with ill
- ill at ease
- ill wind that blows no one any good, it's an
, also see under
- get sick