See also: hòrrid





Borrowed from Latin horridus (rough, bristly, savage, shaggy, rude), from horrere (to bristle). See horrent, horror, ordure.





horrid (comparative horrider or more horrid, superlative horridest or most horrid)

  1. (archaic) Bristling, rough, rugged.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book I, Canto VII”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC, page 31:
      His haughtie Helmet, horrid all with gold, // Both glorious brightnesse and great terror bredd.
    • 1634 October 9 (first performance), [John Milton], edited by H[enry] Lawes, A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: [] [Comus], London: [] [Augustine Matthews] for Hvmphrey Robinson, [], published 1637, →OCLC; reprinted as Comus: [] (Dodd, Mead & Company’s Facsimile Reprints of Rare Books; Literature Series; no. I), New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1903, →OCLC:
      Yea there, where very Desolation dwells, / By grots and caverns shagg'd with horrid shades, / She may pass on with unblench'd majesty, / Be it not done in pride, or in presumption.
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      1697, Virgil, “The Ninth Book of the Æneis”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC:
      Horrid with fern, and intricate with thorn, / Few paths of human feet, or tracks of beasts, were worn.
  2. Causing horror or dread.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:frightening
  3. Offensive, disagreeable, abominable, execrable.
    horrid weather
    The other girls in class are always horrid to Jane.
    • 1668 October 23, Samuel Pepys, Diary, 1858, Diary and Correspondence of Samuel Pepys, F.R.S., Volume 4, 6th Edition, page 39,
      My Lord Chief Justice Keeling hath laid the constable by the heels to answer it next Sessions: which is a horrid shame.
    • 1649, William Dampier, A New Voyage Round The World[2], page 362:
      About the middle of November we began to work on our Ship's bottom, which we found very much eaten with the Worm: For this is a horrid place for Worms.
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      1712 May, [Alexander Pope], “The Rape of the Locke. An Heroi-comical Poem.”, in Miscellaneous Poems and Translations. [], London: [] Bernard Lintott [], →OCLC, canto IV:
      Methinks already I your tears survey, / Already hear the horrid things they say,

Usage notes

  • According to OED, horrid and horrible were originally almost synonymous, but in modern use horrid is somewhat less strong and tending towards the "offensive, disagreeable" sense.[1]


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