The original meaning of terrible was anything that causes terror. That meaning still applies, but mostly this is a word for anything really bad.

Terrible used to be reserved for things that caused fear and terror, but today we use the word to describe anything awful, lousy, or just plain bad. People like saying "That movie was terrible!" or "The Yankees are terrible!" If you get a D on a test, you might tell your friends the test (or teacher) is terrible. Or you might also say, "I am terrible at taking tests."

Definitions of terrible
  1. adjective
    exceptionally bad or displeasing
    terrible handwriting”
    synonyms: abominable, abysmal, atrocious, awful, dreadful, painful, unspeakable, vile
    having undesirable or negative qualities
  2. adjective
    intensely or extremely bad or unpleasant in degree or quality
    “a terrible cough”
    synonyms: severe, wicked
    possessing or displaying a distinctive feature to a heightened degree
  3. adjective
    extreme in degree or extent or amount or impact
    synonyms: awful, frightful, tremendous
    beyond what is ordinary or usual; highly unusual or exceptional or remarkable
  4. adjective
    causing fear or dread or terror
    “a terrible curse”
    synonyms: awful, dire, direful, dread, dreaded, dreadful, fearful, fearsome, frightening, horrendous, horrific
    frightening because of an awareness of danger
Word Family

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