From Middle English terrible, from Old French terrible, from Latin terribilis (“frightful”), from terreō (“I frighten, terrify, alarm; I deter by terror, scare (away)”). Compare terror, deter. Equivalent to terror + -ible.
- (UK, UK) IPA(key): /ˈtɛɹəbəl/, /ˈtɛɹɪbəl/
- (US, dialectal, archaic) IPA(key): /ˈtɝbəl/, /ˈtɛɚbəl/
Audio (US) (file)
- Homophone: tearable, in some accents
terrible (comparative terribler or more terrible, superlative terriblest or most terrible)
- Dreadful; causing terror, alarm and fear; awesome
- The witch laid a terrible curse on him.
- 1950, C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time. If the children had ever thought so, they were cured of it now. For when they tried to look at Aslan's face they just caught a glimpse of the golden mane and the great, royal, solemn, overwhelming eyes; and then they found they couldn't look at him and went all trembly.
- Formidable, powerful.
- 1881–1882, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, London; Paris: Cassell & Company, published 14 November 1883, OCLC 702939134:
- […] and there was even a party of the younger men who pretended to admire him, calling him a "true sea-dog," and "real old salt," and such-like names, and saying there was the sort of man that made England terrible at sea.
- 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 96:
- "He is the right sort of man for a labourer, but he is a terrible eater, to be sure," thought the farmer.
- Intense; extreme in degree or extent.
- 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 18, in The China Governess:
- ‘Then the father has a great fight with his terrible conscience,’ said Munday with granite seriousness. ‘Should he make a row with the police […]? Or should he say nothing about it and condone brutality for fear of appearing in the newspapers?
- He paid a terrible price for his life of drinking.
- Unpleasant; disagreeable.
- 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XII, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 4293071:
- To Edward […] he was terrible, nerve-inflaming, poisonously asphyxiating. He sat rocking himself in the late Mr. Churchill's swing chair, smoking and twaddling.
- The food was terrible, but it was free.
- Very bad; lousy.
- 2012 April 26, Tasha Robinson, “Film: Reviews: The Pirates! Band Of Misfits”, in The Onion AV Club:
- The openly ridiculous plot has The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) scheming to win the Pirate Of The Year competition, even though he’s a terrible pirate, far outclassed by rivals voiced by Jeremy Piven and Salma Hayek.
- Whatever he thinks, he is a terrible driver.
- See also Thesaurus:frightening
- (very bad): excellent
dreadful; causing alarm or fear
intense; extreme in degree or extent
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
Translations to be checked
terrible (comparative more terrible, superlative most terrible)
- (colloquial, dialect) In a terrible way; to a terrible extent; terribly; awfully.
- 1908, Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows, Ware: Wordsworth Classics, published 1993, page 59:
- ‘Oh, terrible bad, sir, terrible deep the snow is,’ said the hedgehog.
- ^ Hall, Joseph Sargent (March 2, 1942), “2. The Vowel Sounds of Unstressed and Partially Stressed Syllables”, in The Phonetics of Great Smoky Mountain Speech (American Speech: Reprints and Monographs; 4), New York: King's Crown Press, DOI:10.7312/hall93950, →ISBN, § II.1, page 62.
- ^ Stanley, Oma (1937), “I. Vowel Sounds in Stressed Syllables”, in The Speech of East Texas (American Speech: Reprints and Monographs; 2), New York: Columbia University Press, DOI:10.7312/stan90028, →ISBN, § 4, page 13.
- terrible in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- terrible in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
From Latin terribilis.
terrible (masculine and feminine plural terribles)
Borrowed from Latin terribilis.
terrible (plural terribles)
- (all senses) terrible
- 1837, Louis Viardot, L’Ingénieux Hidalgo Don Quichotte de la Manchefr.Wikisource, translation of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Chapter II:
- Mais à peine se vit-il en chemin qu’une pensée terrible l’assaillit, et telle, que peu s’en fallut qu’elle ne lui fît abandonner l’entreprise commencée.
- But scarcely did he see himself on the road when a terrible thought assaulted him, and such that little was missing to make him abandon the enterprise he had started.
- (colloquial) great, excellent
- “terrible”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.
Borrowed from Latin terribilis. Cognate with English terrible.
terrible (plural terribles)
- terrible, awful, horrible (very bad)
- appalling (shocking, causing consternation)
- terrific (very great or intense)
- Los jóvenes de hoy en día están bajo estrés terrible.
- Today's young people are under terrific stress.
- “terrible”, in Diccionario de la lengua española, Vigésima tercera edición, Real Academia Española, 2014