Definition of nasty in English:


Line breaks: nasty
Pronunciation: /ˈnɑːsti

adjective (nastier, nastiest)

  • 4Damaging or harmful: a nasty, vicious-looking hatchet
    More example sentences
    • It takes about five minutes to get to the surface without bursting your lungs or doing some other nasty damage to your body.
    • If left unchecked, free radicals cause nasty damage to the body's cell membranes and DNA.
    • Your luscious locks can also suffer from heat damage and nasty rays from the sun so they need some protection too.

noun (plural nasties)

informal Back to top  
  • 1An unpleasant or harmful person or thing: a water conditioner to neutralize chlorine and other nasties
    More example sentences
    • The problem with these nasties is that they lack motivation: it's impossible to tell whether they act out of naïvety, malice or both.
    • Yet despite the presence of molds, bacteria, and other nasties, most archaeological sites, including tombs, have proven safe for science and tourism alike.
    • The land tax sting is going to be quite a political nasty.
  • 1.1A horror video or film. See also video nasty.
    More example sentences
    • Blockbusters won't be stocking the new nasties.
    • I want to see horror hark back to the old days of video nasties.


a nasty one

informal An awkward question or task.
More example sentences
  • This particular module was a nasty one: it modified the behavior of certain system calls to hide itself from the lsmod command and to hide the presence of scanners, crackers, sniffer logs and other such files.
  • ‘That was a nasty one,’ Eric commented jovially, melting out of the trees in his brown uniform.
  • I knew his expressions too well, and he would defiantly give me a nasty one this time.

a nasty piece (or bit) of work

British informal An unpleasant or untrustworthy person: if you ask me he’s a nasty piece of work
More example sentences
  • She is a nasty piece of work and people used to give her a very wide berth.
  • He is a nasty piece of work, and has to go, but there must be other ways to sort this out.
  • A womaniser, unfaithful, just a nasty piece of work.
informal beast, toad, pig, swine, rat, creep, bastard, louse, snake, skunk, dog, weasel, lowlife, scumbag, heel, stinkpot, stinker, bad lot, no-good, son of a bitch, s.o.b.
Scottish informal scrote
Irish informal spalpeen
North American informal rat fink, fink, schmuck
Australian informal dingo
New Zealand informal kuri
informal , • dated rotter, hound, bounder, cad, blighter
black English rass
vulgar slang shit, sod, prick
archaic blackguard, dastard, knave, varlet, whoreson

a nasty taste in the mouth

see taste.

something nasty in the woodshed



More example sentences
  • It will fight nastily, brutally and with no compunction.
  • What I mean here is that when the Romans had a mutiny, obviously you can't kill everyone in a mutinous army as you'd have no army, so they killed some of them really nastily, and made the others watch.
  • Equally, why are stay-at-home mums so nastily eager to imagine that the children of their working sisters are damaged, unloved, neurotic, tormented?


late Middle English: of unknown origin.

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