adjective, superl. of bad and ill.
verb (used with object)
Origin of worst
Definition for worst (2 of 4)
adjective, worse, worst; ill·er, ill·est for 7.
Origin of ill
Definition for worst (3 of 4)
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.
Origin of bad1
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.
Definition for worst (4 of 4)
adverb, worse, worst.
Origin of badly
Examples from the Web for worst
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.Coffee Talk with Ethan Hawke: On ‘Boyhood,’ Jennifer Lawrence, and Bill Clinton’s Urinal Exchange|Marlow Stern|December 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It was neither the best nor worst pickup line I encountered that evening.The Craziest Date Night for Single Jews, Where Mistletoe Is Ditched for Shots|Emily Shire|December 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Although I was not free of eating disorder thoughts, I figured the worst of it was behind me.
Happily the subject is usually picturesque, and old Holinshed at his worst was no contemptible writer.The Battaile of Agincourt|Michael Drayton
More is often done for the worst cause than men are willing to do or to sacrifice for the best.Public School Education|Michael Mller
It was packed with all the worst cases—dying and bleeding and groaning.
At the worst, a halt at some house would serve to break the monotony of the hike.The Boy Scouts of Lakeville High|Leslie W. Quirk
The worst enemy of M. le Duc d'Orleans could not have devised a more rash and ridiculous undertaking.The Memoirs of Louis XIV., His Court and The Regency, Complete|Duc de Saint-Simon
British Dictionary definitions for worst (1 of 5)
- in the least favourable interpretation or view
- under the least favourable conditions
Word Origin for worst
British Dictionary definitions for worst (2 of 5)
adverb worse or worst
British Dictionary definitions for worst (3 of 5)
adjective worse or worst
Word Origin for ill
British Dictionary definitions for worst (4 of 5)
adjective worse or worst
- seriously ill, through sickness or injury
- in trouble of any kind
Word Origin for bad
British Dictionary definitions for worst (5 of 5)
Word Origin and History for worst (1 of 7)
Old English wyrresta, from Proto-Germanic *wers-ista- (cf. Old Saxon wirsista, Old Norse verstr, Old Frisian wersta, Old High German wirsisto), superlative of PIE *wers- "to confuse, mix up" (see worse). Phrase in the worst way (1839) is from American English sense of "most severely."
Word Origin and History for worst (1 of 7)
"damage, inflict loss upon," c.1600, from worst (adj.). Related: Worsted; worsting.
Word Origin and History for worst (2 of 7)
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.
Word Origin and History for worst (3 of 7)
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."
Word Origin and History for worst (4 of 7)
early 13c., "to do evil to," from ill (adj.). Meaing "to speak disparagingly" is from 1520s. Related: Illed; illing.
Word Origin and History for worst (5 of 7)
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.
Word Origin and History for worst (6 of 7)
Medicine definitions for worst
Idioms and Phrases with worst (1 of 3)
see at worst; get (have) the worst of it; if worst comes to worst; in the worst way. Also see under worse.
Idioms and Phrases with worst (2 of 3)
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
Idioms and Phrases with worst (3 of 3)
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