Something that's terribly bad is dreadful. Some people love going to the opera, but for others there's no more dreadful way to spend three hours.

Dreadful means "full of dread," "feeling a sense of dread," or "causing dread." Dread means fear or anxiety. The adjective dreadful can describe something truly devastating, like the dreadful aftermath of a tornado, or something that's awful on a more personal level, like a dreadful blind date. If it's bad, fearsome, or unpleasant, you can call it dreadful.

Definitions of dreadful

adj exceptionally bad or displeasing

dreadful manners”
abominable, abysmal, atrocious, awful, painful, terrible, unspeakable
having undesirable or negative qualities

adj very unpleasant

disagreeable to the senses, to the mind, or feelings

adj causing fear or dread or terror

“a dreadful storm”
awful, dire, direful, dread, dreaded, fearful, fearsome, frightening, horrendous, horrific, terrible
frightening because of an awareness of danger

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.