Definition of badly in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbadlē/

adverb (worse /wərs/, worst /wərst/)

1In an unsatisfactory, inadequate, or unsuccessful way: a badly managed company the war was going badly
More example sentences
  • Both nurses and doctors are working under intense pressure in a service that has been appallingly under-resourced and badly managed.
  • That leader must be bold enough to say that devolution is working badly because it is inadequate, that the denial of fiscal autonomy makes for irresponsible and incompetent government.
  • Parking in Devizes is inadequate, badly organised and is driving people to other towns where parking is free and easier to find.
poorly, incompetently, ineptly, inexpertly, inefficiently, imperfectly, deficiently, defectively, unsatisfactorily, inadequately, incorrectly, faultily, shoddily, amateurishly, carelessly, negligently;
informal crummily, pitifully, woefully
unsuccessfully, unfavorably, adversely, unfortunately, unhappily, unluckily
1.1In an unfavorable way: try not to think badly of me
More example sentences
  • Yes, some criticism is misplaced and should be rejected, but this isn't always the case even with criticism that is badly or rudely phrased.
  • I take criticism very badly, and when I think it is not deserved it sends me into a state of fear and depression.
  • It reflects very badly on NSW Police service and it's no wonder residents no longer give information to police because complaints are not acted on.
unfavorably, ill, critically, disapprovingly
severely, seriously, gravely, acutely, critically
formal grievously
1.2In an unacceptable or unpleasant way: she realized she was behaving rather badly
More example sentences
  • But feeling really rather badly treated by the staff I decided to resign from the Social Committee.
  • While we were eating, one of the children - a boy aged about seven - behaved rather badly, and this brought a stern rebuke from his father.
  • But the old king was very angry when he saw how his daughter behaved and how badly she treated all his guests.
naughtily, disobediently, willfully, reprehensibly, mischievously
cruelly, wickedly, unkindly, harshly, shamefully;
unfairly, unjustly, wrongly, improperly
2To a great or serious degree; severely: the building was badly damaged by fire I wanted a baby so badly things had begun to go badly wrong
More example sentences
  • Two pet dogs were killed and an historic building badly damaged in a fire at Castle Combe on the night of Wednesday 26 February.
  • The building was so badly damaged in the fire it will have to be demolished.
  • Not only does that stop development and investment; perhaps even more seriously, it badly damages race relations in this country.
desperately, sorely, intensely, seriously, very much, greatly, exceedingly


[as complement] informal
Guilty or regretful: I felt badly about my unfriendliness of the previous evening
More example sentences
  • We felt badly about our stock's performance last year.
  • I wanted him to say that he felt badly, felt horrible.
  • I felt badly about tying up the room for half an hour, but the volunteer staff said not to worry.


See bad (usage).


badly off

In an unfavorable situation; at a disadvantage: with his pension benefits, he shouldn’t be too badly off she was a lot worse off before the divorce
More example sentences
  • Consider first those people who are badly off: those who are suffering, or destitute, or those whose fundamental needs have not been met.
  • And Salvadore says there are others as badly off.
  • So document-wise, I'm not too badly off, either.

Words that rhyme with badly

Bradley, Hadlee, madly, sadly

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bad·ly

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