From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishterribleter‧ri‧ble /ˈterəbəl/ ●●● S1 W3 adjective 1 BADextremely severe in a way that causes harm or damage SYN horrible, awful Their son had been injured in a terrible accident. We’re worried that something terrible might have happened to Greg. a terrible stormsee thesaurus at horrible2 BAD ATvery bad SYN awful The hotel was absolutely terrible. I’d better write this down; I have a terrible memory.see thesaurus at bad3 FRIGHTENEDmaking you feel afraid or shocked There was a terrible noise and the roof caved in. She wept when she heard the terrible news.4 to a very great degree SYN grave You’re making a terrible mistake.THESAURUSMeanings 1 & 2terrible/awful (also dreadful especially British English) very badThe journey was terrible – it took six hours.The food was good but we had terrible service.It’s such an awful programme! How can you watch it?He looked dreadful.horrible very bad and unpleasant – used especially when something has a strong effect on you and you feel shocked, annoyed, or sickThis soup tastes horrible.I got a horrible shock when I saw the bill.a horrible accidenta horrible thing to say to someoneappalling terrible – especially in a way that is shocking. Appalling is stronger and a little more formal than terrible or horribleThe refugees are living in appalling conditions.The teacher said my handwriting was appalling.disgusting terrible – used about a taste, smell, habit etc, often one that makes you feel sickThe smell was disgusting and I had to go out.Do you have to bite your nails? It’s a disgusting habit.lousy informal terrible – used especially to express annoyanceI’ve had a lousy day at the office.This area is a lousy place to live.hopeless very bad and difficult – used when there is no chance of success or improvementWe were trying to pay off our debts but it was a hopeless situation.He was given the almost hopeless task of trying to negotiate a ceasefire.diabolical British English extremely bad – used to express great disapproval of an action or eventThe prices are diabolical.a diabolical waste of moneyMcAndrew gave a diabolical performance on Saturday.GrammarTerrible is not used with ‘very’. You say: I feel absolutely terrible today. Don’t say: I feel very terrible today.
Examples from the Corpus
terribleThe movie was terrible.a terrible accidentHe says it's terrible, because the aircraft has such a good safety record.Students like Andrea are caught in a terrible bind.I have a terrible headache.The attitude they have towards you is terrible, like you're lower than the dirt they tread on.Yet beyond the immediate and terrible losses suffered, the fire had lasting consequences for the lives of Californians.It is hard to believe that you will be able to make something happen to get you out of this terrible mess.I was withdrawing from drugs and in a terrible state.He had some idea of what was ahead of him, for he knew the terrible tales about the Robemaker's Workshops.
Origin terrible (1300-1400) Old French Latin terribilis, from terrere to frighten