Definition of bad in English:


Line breaks: bad

adjective (worse /wəːs/, worst /wəːst/)

  • 4(Of a part of the body) injured, diseased, or painful: a bad back
    More example sentences
    • After all, our national inheritance also includes heart disease, damp and bad teeth.
    • Her son joined another queue to have his bad back checked and would be there for hours, so we took her to our hotel to rest.
    • I was taking Baja out for a bathroom run when he yanked me and I slipped on an ice patch, twisting my bad knee.
    injured, wounded, diseased
    British informal gammy, knackered
    Australian/New Zealand informal crook
    dated game
  • 4.1 [as complement] (Of a person) unwell: I feel bad
    More example sentences
    • Pain is your body's way of telling you to stop, and ignoring it will not only make you feel bad but probably injure you into the bargain.
    • Even if you don't feel that bad, meningitis is a quick moving disease so it's better to be safe than sorry.
    • Would allergic kids let us know if they felt bad or accidentally contacted something?
  • 7Worthless; not valid: he ran up 87 bad cheques
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    • He relies on the telephone and on an eye trained by expensive experience to ferret out bad checks.
    • The geeks will not inherit the earth: They spend too much time watching movies and checking for bad physics.
    • One of my earlier cases was investigating a bad cheque that had been passed at a local merchant.
    invalid, worthless; counterfeit, fake, false, spurious, fraudulent
    informal bogus, phoney, dud
  • 8 (badder, baddest) informal , chiefly North American Good; excellent: they want the baddest, best-looking Corvette there is
    More example sentences
    • He was amusing, and he made me feel as if I was the baddest one in the place.
    • ‘It was the baddest car I'd ever seen and I promised myself right then that one day I'd have one just like it.’
    • She knew she was badder than these wannabe hoodlums.


North American informal Back to top  
  • Badly: he beat her up real bad
    More example sentences
    • I tell you, if we start to win again, I want to beat them real bad this time.
    • No matter how bad I threw the ball, it was still going to knock down at least one pin.
    • It would be disrespectful of me to talk bad of her on a forum that everybody can read.


a bad penny always turns up

see penny.

a bad workman always blames his tools

come to a bad end

see end.

from bad to worse

Into an even worse state: the country’s going from bad to worse
More example sentences
  • This has only turned things from bad to worse because the buses have to now ply on a narrow road before reaching the road connecting Town Hall.
  • This is one of those days, however, that just keeps going from bad to worse, as Brandon and his passengers are soon to discover.
  • The week has gone from bad to worse for the Wexford County Board.

in a bad way

Ill or in trouble.
More example sentences
  • He was in a bad way, so very weak, only the occasional half-hearted flap of his wings.
  • His teeth were too long, his hooves in a bad way and he had septicaemia, a disease caused by toxic micro-organisms in the blood.
  • He looked in a bad way and I think they took him off at Singapore.

my bad

North American informal Used to acknowledge responsibility for a mistake: Sorry I lost your CD. It’s my bad
More example sentences
  • I didn't flip the shirt over to see that there is in fact an Ivory-billed Woodpecker on the back, my bad.
  • I hate when people say ‘my bad’ it's so annoying, just say ‘sorry’ for god's sake.
  • Just kidding; it didn't take long at all - sorry for the linguistic impasse, my bad.

not (or not so) bad

informal Fairly good: she discovered he wasn’t so bad after all
More example sentences
  • There's still a mad scramble the night before, but it's not so bad.
  • But after a few trips to the toilet and some painkillers it's not so bad.
  • This was not so bad as the grill was on on quite low.
all right, quite good, good, adequate, acceptable, good enough, reasonable, fair, decent, average, tolerable, passable, middling, moderate, sufficiently good, fine
informal OK, so-so, fair-to-middling
North American & Australian/New Zealand informal jake

to the bad

  • 1To ruin: I hate to see you going to the bad
    More example sentences
    • The third key process I wish to identify is chiefly to the bad.
    • The Britain of this film is a vision of modernity gone to the bad.
    • In many ways, Peter's is the classic story of a youngster who turned to the bad because he could not see any way forward.
  • 2In deficit: he was £80 to the bad
    More example sentences
    • But when they finished the first half two points to the bad, after playing with the aid of a significant breeze, they were always unlikely to prevail.
    • Defending their European Cup Winners' Cup, Ferguson's side emerged at Pittodrie two goals to the bad against Dosza of Hungary.
    • Now he shows up unannounced with his passive-aggressive Chinese flute at The Bride's wedding rehearsal, like Caine gone to the bad.

too bad

informal Used to indicate that something is regrettable but is now beyond retrieval: too bad, but that’s the way it is
More example sentences
  • Now when that means you lose a little money on the stock market or whatever, that's too bad.
  • In a way it's too bad, but if he becomes a casualty, it will be his own fault.
  • It would be too bad if professional boxing had to be stopped because there is a lot of good talent here.



More example sentences
  • But I think you should tell her before something baddish happens.
  • Then, when I'm having a baddish moment they come up and be nice to me, then I spit something back in their face that I'd rather not and the cycle of being ignored begins again.
  • The woman, with the baddish cat following closely at her heels, entered the Bilkins mansion, reached her chamber in the attic without being intercepted, and there laid aside her finery.


More example sentences
  • His great belief was that there should be discussion about all aspects of life because wisdom came from knowledge and badness came from ignorance.
  • The lyrics were pure rock, riddled with frustration and anger, and implicitly threatening of badness just waiting to unfold unless things get better.
  • It's bad, yes, as bad as advertised, but it has a certain kind of rare badness, the kind that holds up on repeating viewings.


Middle English: perhaps from Old English bǣddel 'hermaphrodite, womanish man'.

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