View synonyms for worst


[ wurst ]


  1. bad or ill in the highest, greatest, or most extreme degree:

    the worst person.

  2. most faulty, unsatisfactory, or objectionable:

    the worst paper submitted.

  3. most unfavorable or injurious.
  4. in the poorest condition:

    the worst house on the block.

  5. most unpleasant, unattractive, or disagreeable:

    the worst personality I've ever known.

  6. most lacking in skill; least skilled:

    He’s the worst player on the team.


  1. that which is worst.


  1. in the most evil, wicked, severe, or disadvantageous manner.
  2. with the most severity, intensity, etc.; in the greatest degree.

verb (used with object)

  1. to defeat; beat:

    He worsted him easily.


/ wɜːst /


  1. the superlative of bad 1


  1. in the most extreme or bad manner or degree
  2. least well, suitably, or acceptably
  3. in combination in or to the smallest degree or extent; least



  1. the worst
    the least good or most inferior person, thing, or part in a group, narrative, etc
  2. often preceded by at the most poor, unpleasant, or unskilled quality or condition

    television is at its worst these days

  3. the greatest amount of damage or wickedness of which a person or group is capable

    the invaders came and did their worst

  4. the weakest effort or poorest achievement that a person or group is capable of making

    the applicant did his worst at the test because he did not want the job

  5. the worst
    1. in the least favourable interpretation or view
    2. under the least favourable conditions
  6. if the worst comes to the worst
    if all the more desirable alternatives become impossible or if the worst possible thing happens
  7. come off worst or get the worst of it
    to enjoy the least benefit from an issue or be defeated in it


  1. tr to get the advantage over; defeat or beat

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Word History and Origins

Origin of worst1

First recorded before 900; Middle English worste (adjective, adverb, and noun), Old English wur(re)sta, wyr(re)st, wer(re)sta (adjective and adverb); cognate with Old Norse verstr; worse, -est 1

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Word History and Origins

Origin of worst1

Old English wierrest; related to Old Frisian wersta, Old Saxon, Old High German wirsisto, Old Norse verstr

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. at worst, if the worst happens; under the worst conditions: Also at the worst.

    He will be expelled from school, at worst.

  2. get the worst of, to be defeated in; experience the most harm from:

    New Jersey got the worst of the storm.

  3. if worst comes to worst, if the very worst happens:

    If worst comes to worst, we still have some money in reserve.

  4. in the worst way, Informal. in an extreme degree; very much: Also the worst way.

    She wanted a new robe for Christmas in the worst way.

More idioms and phrases containing worst

see at worst ; get (have) the worst of it ; if worst comes to worst ; in the worst way . Also see under worse .

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Example Sentences

Girdusky, who has also worked as a political consultant for about 15 years, told The Washington Post that Weaver’s past was like a “worst-kept secret” and that several men reached out to him after Weaver followed him on Twitter last May.

Here’s a look at the best- and worst-performing asset classes for 2020, and what that that performance might bode for the year to come.

From Fortune

Even data from the worst-behaving police departments is still being used to inform predictive policing tools.

Its kick-off could still get pushed back, as Japan grapples with a fresh outbreak and Osaka, where the park is located, becomes one of the nation’s worst-affected cities.

From Fortune

To do otherwise is at best dishonest and, at worst, significantly damaging to the country.

But there is an underlying feeling that the worst is yet to come.

If there are 162 confirmed deaths from Flight 8501, this would make 2014 the worst year for accident deaths since 2005.

And his worst work is better than the stuff everyone else is doing.

It was neither the best nor worst pickup line I encountered that evening.

Although I was not free of eating disorder thoughts, I figured the worst of it was behind me.

Urbanity ushers in water that needs no apology, and gives a zest to the worst vintage.

Many of us had been hit by the balls, but a bruise or a graze of the skin was the worst consequence that had ensued.

Worst danger zone, the open sea, now traversed, but on land not yet out of the wood.

The worst loss is that of Winston's ear; high principles won't obtain high explosives.

Conditions in the new country had gone from bad to worse, and if the season should experience another drought, the worst was come.


Related Words

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More About Worst

What is a basic definition of worst?

Worst describes something as being bad in the highest degree possible. Worst is also used to mean a thing that is the baddest possible and to mean something done in the baddest manner possible. Worst has several other senses as an adjective, adverb, noun, and verb.

Worst is a superlative of the word bad. Simply put, worst describes something as being the baddest out of a group, category, list, and the like. This can mean something is most evil, is least skilled, is most unsatisfactory, is of the poorest quality, or is most unpleasant. What someone thinks of as the worst something depends on what they’re judging that thing on. As with bad, worst is often a person’s opinion.

  • Real-life examples: Everybody has a movie that they think is the worst (poorest quality or most unpleasant to watch) movie ever made. The worst student in a class could be the one who scores the lowest on tests or the one who misbehaves the most. A runner who records the worst time in a race is the one who ran the slowest. The worst person you know might be the one with the most unpleasant personality or who treats you the most poorly.
  • Used in a sentence: Jessica got a 50 on the test, making her grade the worst in the class. 

In this same sense, worst as a noun means something is the baddest out of a group. This sense is almost always phrased as “the worst.”

  • Real-life examples: A person who is the least skilled at painting among a group of painters is the worst. A pie that is the least pleasant to eat out of a group of pies is the worst.
  • Used in a sentence: I have played a lot of bad video games, but that one is the worst of them all. 

As an adverb, worst is the superlative of the word badly and describes something as being done in as bad a manner as possible.

  • Used in a sentence: We didn’t get any runners on base, making today’s baseball game the worst one this year.

Where does worst come from?

The first records of the term worst come from before 900. It ultimately comes from the Old English wierrest. It is related to similar words from other languages, such as the Old Frisian wersta and the Old Norse verstr.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for worst?

What are some words that share a root or word element with worst

What are some words that often get used in discussing worst?

How is worst used in real life?

Worst is a very common word that describes something as being so bad that you can’t think of anything that is worse.

Try using worst!

Is worst used correctly in the following sentence?

I am the worst driver in my family and have gotten more driving tickets than anyone else.

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




worship the ground someone walks onworst-case