• "Jim got a terrible drenching."
    "Jim got a terrible drenching."
  • WordNet 3.6
    • adj terrible causing fear or dread or terror "the awful war","an awful risk","dire news","a career or vengeance so direful that London was shocked","the dread presence of the headmaster","polio is no longer the dreaded disease it once was","a dreadful storm","a fearful howling","horrendous explosions shook the city","a terrible curse"
    • adj terrible exceptionally bad or displeasing "atrocious taste","abominable workmanship","an awful voice","dreadful manners","a painful performance","terrible handwriting","an unspeakable odor came sweeping into the room"
    • adj terrible intensely or extremely bad or unpleasant in degree or quality "severe pain","a severe case of flu","a terrible cough","under wicked fire from the enemy's guns","a wicked cough"
    • adj terrible extreme in degree or extent or amount or impact "in a frightful hurry","spent a frightful amount of money"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

"'It is a terrible thing, is a wreck on this coast.'" "'It is a terrible thing, is a wreck on this coast.'"
A Terrible Tale A Terrible Tale

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The blow of a whale has a strong, foul odor. It apparently smells like a combination of spoiled fish and old oil. Because whales have such terrible breath, sailors believed at one time that a whiff of it could cause brain disorders.
    • Terrible Adapted or likely to excite terror, awe, or dread; dreadful; formidable. "Prudent in peace, and terrible in war.""Thou shalt not be affrighted at them; for the Lord thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible ."
    • Terrible Excessive; extreme; severe. "The terrible coldness of the season."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • terrible That excites or is fitted to excite terror, fear, awe, or dread; awful; dreadful; formidable.
    • terrible Excessive; tremendous; severe; great: chiefly used colloquially: as, a terrible bore.
    • terrible Synonyms Terrific, fearful, frightful, horrible, shocking, dire.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Terrible ter′i-bl fitted to excite terror or awe: awful: dreadful
    • ***


  • Henry Fielding
    “It hath often been said that it is not death but dying that is terrible.”
  • Henry Fielding
    “It is not death, but dying, which is terrible.”
  • Nathaniel Lee
    Nathaniel Lee
    “The pomp of death is far more terrible than death itself.”
  • Tom Stoppard
    “Eternity is a terrible thought. I mean, where's it going to end?”
  • Jean Anouilh
    “With God, what is terrible is that one never knows whether it's not just a trick of the devil.”
  • Theodosia Garrison
    Theodosia Garrison
    “The hardest habit of all to break is the terrible habit of happiness.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F., fr. L. terribilis, fr. terrere, to frighten. See Terror
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. terribilisterrēre, to frighten.


In literature:

A terrible famine now threatened the land, spreading misery among the poor.
"Legends of the Rhine" by Wilhelm Ruland
The snow had ceased, but there was a bitter wind, and the glare from the newly-fallen snow was terrible.
"Through Three Campaigns" by G. A. Henty
A few, a very few, of the more sensible ones, tried to knock up a little practice game and prepare themselves for the terrible ordeal.
"A Dog with a Bad Name" by Talbot Baines Reed
At first she thought she must be the victim of some terrible dream.
"Which?" by Ernest Daudet
It was a terrible time for Monsieur de Villefort, who saw himself obliged, in his official capacity, to investigate his own household.
"The Son of Monte-Cristo, Volume I (of 2)" by Alexandre Dumas père
Don't look so terribly downcast.
"The Trail of '98" by Robert W. Service
The mosquitoes, even in the daytime were so terrible that it was almost impossible to live.
"Old Rail Fence Corners" by Various
They were really awed by the terrible fate which they believed awaited the reckless cibolero.
"The White Chief" by Mayne Reid
This sad story brought tears to the eyes of all, and even Sir Arthur waxed terribly indignant and prophesied speedy retribution.
"The River of Darkness" by William Murray Graydon
It was a terrible catastrophe, but the consequences were still more terrible.
"Nobody's Boy" by Hector Malot

In poetry:

Oh no, I love you—
Will never leave you. Pardon me, my Julian;
But blood is terrible.
"Within and Without: Part II: A Dramatic Poem" by George MacDonald
Many die when they see
That the terrible thing is true.
But it has been easy for me:
I always knew.
"Knowledge" by Aline Murray Kilmer
Afterwards, terrible nights.
No respite, no sleep.
I wrestle alone in darkness, batter
my head on the wall.
"A Long Bough" by Hayyim Nahman Bialik
When I was bold, when I was bold-
And that's a hundred years!-
Oh, never I thought my breast could hold
The terrible weight of tears.
"Liebestod" by Dorothy Parker
Her body looms above him like a hill
Within whose shade a village lies at rest,
Or the first cloud so terrible and still
That bears the coming harvest in its breast.
"The Zulu Girl" by Roy Campbell
From the fountain of pleasure will bitterness spring,
Yet why should the Muse aught but happiness sing?
No! let me the terrible anguish conceal
Of the hero whose guide had forgotten the veal!
"The Alpine Club Man" by E W Bowling

In news:

Nothing terribly serious was the implication.
Why The US Job Market Remains Terribly Bleak.
Since I'm remarkably unfast on two wheels, it's not terribly surprising to have been overtaken by another cyclist.
"The Strange and Terrible True Tale of Pinocchio" at The Neo-Futurarium ???
My mother on the other hand, while missing Smidget terribly, was not at all excited about a replacement.
Giants starter Matt Cain didn't toss a terrible game Saturday night against the Reds, but he was simply too hittable.
Phillips, players keeping their heads up during terrible season.
Last week our community again experienced a terrible crime with the murder/suicide reported in this paper.
A new generation of conspiracy theorists is at work on a secret history of New York's most terrible day.
LIT Either I'm terrible at parking or Philip P Choy was exactly the right person to author his recently-released San Francisco Chinatown: A Guide to Its History and Architecture (City Lights Publishers, 184pp, $15.95).
Welcome to a Friday gump file, today a couple of classic gumps featuring a Nativity scene, and an office prank that goes terrible wrong.
The song is pretty close to terrible and the video is even worse, but damn if this isn't one of the funniest hooks I've heard since "Krispy Kreme".
American kids are terrible at science and math—17th and 25th respectively—out of 65 countries tested in 2011.
Prometheus is a terrible name for a spaceship.
This terrible economy is unsurprisingly wreaking havoc on our restaurant scene, claiming victims almost weekly.

In science:

Numerically this is a terrible approximation.
The Casimir effect: Recent controversies and progress
For instance, detecting a face at a fixed position, scale and orientation might not be terribly difficult, even given variations in lighting and nonlinear variations due to expressions; it can be accomplished with standard learning algorithms such as multilayer perceptrons, decision trees and support vector machines.
Hierarchical testing designs for pattern recognition
Now, since baryons are all left from t ≈ 0, while metals have been produced continuously in stars, which are generally found in galaxies, this doesn’t really sound terribly promising.
Astrophysics in 2006
The flat model does significantly worse and the random model does terribly.
A Bayesian Model for Discovering Typological Implications
As the abstract indicates we aren’t trying to provide a comprehensive (or even terribly in-depth) treatment of any of the topics we cover.
A Simple Introduction to Particle Physics Part II