Definition of atrocious in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈtrōSHəs/


1Horrifyingly wicked: atrocious cruelties
More example sentences
  • This helps to explain why murder is such an atrocious crime.
  • It was possibly the most atrocious monstrosity every pulled off on American soil.
  • They watched the hideous spectacle, stunned by the monster's atrocious acts.
brutal, barbaric, barbarous, savage, vicious, beastly;
wicked, cruel, nasty, heinous, monstrous, vile, inhuman, black-hearted, fiendish, ghastly, horrible;
abominable, outrageous, hateful, disgusting, despicable, contemptible, loathsome, odious, abhorrent, sickening, horrifying, unspeakable, execrable, egregious
1.1Of a very poor quality; extremely bad or unpleasant: he attempted an atrocious imitation of my English accent atrocious weather
More example sentences
  • The generally poor and occasionally atrocious quality of the writing doesn't help.
  • It's unforgivably bad journalism, laughably poor sub-editing, and atrocious proof-reading.
  • The weather was atrocious, with heavy snow and high winds.
appalling, dreadful, terrible, very bad, unpleasant, miserable
informal abysmal, dire, rotten, lousy, godawful



Pronunciation: /əˈtrōSHəslē/
Example sentences
  • 90 per cent of people here drive atrociously.
  • After making my first tuition payment last week, I'm thinking of launching a one-man crusade against the atrociously high cost of higher education today.
  • Factory-farmed chickens are transported and slaughtered under atrociously inhumane conditions, says Weisberg.


Pronunciation: /əˈtrōSHəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • Stravinsky was, in Adorno's opinion, evading existentialist man's duty to confront his own times in all their complexity and atrociousness.
  • In her autobiography she said curiosity had made her take the job, but 60 years on she admits she failed to let herself see the atrociousness of the regime she worked for.
  • In the opinion of the Chamber, there is no doubt that considering their undeniable scale, their systematic nature and their atrociousness, the massacres were aimed at exterminating the group that was targeted.


Mid 17th century: from Latin atrox, atroc- 'cruel' + -ious.

  • Whereas nowadays atrocious tends to describe something such as bad weather or poor English, it used to be a stronger word which referred to great savagery, cruelty, or wickedness, as in Charles Darwin's reference to ‘Atrocious acts which can only take place in a slave country’ (1845). The source of the word was Latin atrox ‘fierce or cruel’, based on ater ‘black’ and literally meaning ‘black-looking’. Atrocity (mid 16th century) has not had its sense weakened in the same way.

Words that rhyme with atrocious

ferocious, precocious

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: a·tro·cious

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