Horrible – Definition, Meaning, Synonyms & Antonyms

Horrible – Definition, Meaning, Synonyms & Antonyms

Horrible meaning refers to extreme fear, shock, or disgust, extremely unpleasant, dreadful, or terrifying.

History of the Word Horrible

The word "horrible" has an interesting etymology that traces its roots through Latin and French. The evolution of the word can be summarized as follows:

Latin Roots

This word ultimately derives from the Latin word "horribilis," which means terrible or fearful. Latin has been a significant source for many English words, especially those related to academic, scientific, or formal language.

Middle English

During the Middle English period (circa 11th to 15th century), the word "horrible" began to take shape in the English language. The Middle English term "horrible" was used to describe something causing fear, dread, or terror.

French Influence

In the medieval period, French had a strong influence on English vocabulary due to the Norman Conquest and the subsequent cultural and linguistic interactions. The Old French word "horrible" had a similar meaning to the Latin root, and it contributed to the development of the English word.

Shift in Meaning

Over time, the meaning of "horrible" evolved to encompass a broader range of negative qualities, including something extremely unpleasant, offensive, or distressing.

Modern Usage

In modern English, it is commonly used to describe something extremely unpleasant, causing a strong sense of dislike or disgust. The word is versatile and can be applied to various situations, objects, or experiences that elicit a negative emotional response.

English (Horrible As Adjective)


Horrible originates from Latin "horribilis," rooted in "horreō" (to tremble or shudder).


Pronounced: /ˈhɒrɪbəl/.

Forms of Horrible

Adjective horrible
Comparative Degree  more horrible
Superlative Degree  most horrible
Adverb horribly
Noun horror

Derived Terms

  • Horribly
  • Horribleness
  • Horror


  • Spanish: horrible
  • French: horrible
  • German: schrecklich
  • Italian: orribile
  • Portuguese: horrível
  • Russian: ужасный (uzhasnyy)
  • Chinese (Simplified): 可怕的 (kěpà de)
  • Japanese: 恐ろしい (osoroshii)
  • Horrible meaning in Hindi: भयानक (bhayanak)
  • Urdu: خوفناک (khofnaak)


  • Dreadful
  • Terrifying
  • Appalling
  • Abominable
  • Gruesome


  • Wonderful
  • Delightful
  • Enjoyable
  • Fantastic

Examples Sentences

  • The accident was a horrible tragedy.
  • The movie's scary scenes were effective.
  • The storm created a horrible mess in the city.

FAQs (People May Also Ask)

What does horrible mean?

Horrible describes something causing extreme fear, shock, or disgust; it's extremely unpleasant, dreadful, or terrifying.

Can horrible be used as a noun?

Yes, it is the noun form, referring to a feeling of extreme fear or a terrifying event or situation.

What's the adverb form of horrible?

The adverb form is horribly, used to describe how something is done horribly.

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