Definition of nasty in English:


Syllabification: nas·ty
Pronunciation: /ˈnastē

adjective (nastier, nastiest)

  • 2(Of a person or animal) behaving in an unpleasant or spiteful way: Harry was a nasty, foul-mouthed old devil when she confronted him, he turned nasty
    More example sentences
    • A voice that was nasty and spiteful, leaping at any chance to cause her pain.
    • His imperialists are often nasty folk who behaved horribly towards the natives under their yoke.
    • Not just a grudge, but a hateful, vindictive, nasty bitterness that I didn't even know existed until this person's name was brought up.
    unkind, unpleasant, unfriendly, disagreeable, rude, churlish, spiteful, malicious, mean, ill-tempered, ill-natured, vicious, malevolent, obnoxious, hateful, hurtful
    informal bitchy, catty
  • 2.1Annoying or unwelcome: life has a nasty habit of repeating itself
    More example sentences
    • Just too many nasty trick questions and annoying video clips of past statements, but that's why you get the big money.
    • Unfortunately, this type of viewing can become a nasty habit that, in the end, sabotages any meaningful engagement with sports.
    • Unfortunately, plenty of investors develop the nasty habit of boasting of their gains instead of contemplating possible overvaluation concerns.
  • 3Physically or mentally damaging 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)

(often nasties) • informal Back to top  
  • 1An unpleasant or harmful person or thing: bacteria 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.
  • 1.1chiefly British A horror video or movie.
    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.



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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