Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

terrible - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective     terrible pronunciation in British English
  1. 1
    making you feel very upset or afraid

    Her mother’s sudden death came as a terrible shock.

    He’s been through a terrible ordeal.

    A few minutes later there was a terrible scream.

    That’s a terrible thing to say about anyone!

  2. 2
    causing or involving serious harm or damage

    She suffered terrible injuries in the attack.

    There’s been a terrible accident at the crossroads.

    A terrible storm hit the island last night.

  3. 3
    ill, unhappy, or feeling guilty

    Don’t you feel terrible about letting everyone down?

    What’s wrong? You look terrible.

  4. 4
    very bad in quality or ability

    The food was terrible.

    He’s a terrible driver.

    terrible at:

    I’ve always been really terrible at maths.

  5. 5
    [only before noun] very great: used for emphasizing the degree to which something bad is true

    I’m afraid there’s been a terrible mistake.

    He’s obviously in terrible pain.



a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play