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Idioms about worst

Origin of worst

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; see worse, -est1


worst , wurst
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


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.

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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.

How to use worst in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for worst

Word Origin for worst

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


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

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