• IPA: /ˈdɹɛd.fʊl/


  1. Full of something causing dread, whether
    1. Genuinely horrific, awful, or alarming; dangerous, risky.
      • 1900, L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Chapter 23:
        "...Aunt Em will surely think something dreadful has happened to me, and that will make her put on mourning..."
    2. (hyperbolic) Unpleasant, awful, very bad (also used as an intensifier).
      • 1682, T. Creech's translation of Lucretius, De Natura Rerum, Book II, 52:
        Here some... Look dreadful gay in their own sparkling blood.
    3. (obsolete) Awesome, awe-inspiring, causing feelings of reverence.
  2. (obsolete) Full of dread, whether
    1. Scared, afraid, frightened.
    2. Timid, easily frightened.
    3. Reverential, full of pious awe.


  1. (informal) Dreadfully.
Synonyms Translations Noun

dreadful (plural dreadfuls)

  1. A shocker: a report of a crime written in a provokingly lurid style.
  2. A journal or broadsheet printing such reports.
  3. A shocking or sensational crime.

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