• (RP) IPA: /ˈhɒɹɪbəl/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈhɔɹɪbəl/, /ˈhɒɹɪbəl/, [-bəɫ]
  • (New York, Philadelphia, Ireland) IPA: /ˈhɑɹɪbəl/

horrible (plural horribles)

  1. A thing that causes horror; a terrifying thing, particularly a prospective bad consequence asserted as likely to result from an act.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick
      Here's a carcase. I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing. Such a waggish leering as lurks in all your horribles!
    • 1982, United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, The Genocide Convention: Hearing Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate
      A lot of the possible horribles conjured up by the people objecting to this convention ignore the plain language of this treaty.
    • 1991, Alastair Scott, Tracks Across Alaska: A Dog Sled Journey
      The pot had previously simmered skate wings, cods' heads, whales, pigs' hearts and a long litany of other horribles.
    • 2000, John Dean, CNN interview ↗, January 21, 2000:
      I'm trying to convince him that the criminal behavior that's going on at the White House has to end. And I give him one horrible after the next. I just keep raising them. He sort of swats them away.
    • 2001, Neil K. Komesar, Law's Limits: The Rule of Law and the Supply and Demand of Rights
      Many scholars have demonstrated these horribles and contemplated significant limitations on class actions.
  2. A person wearing a comic or grotesque costume in a parade of horribles.

horrible (comparative horribler, superlative horriblest)

  1. Causing horror; terrible; shocking.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 16832619 ↗:
      Such a scandal as the prosecution of a brother for forgery—with a verdict of guilty—is a most truly horrible, deplorable, fatal thing. It takes the respectability out of a family perhaps at a critical moment, when the family is just assuming the robes of respectability: […] it is a black spot which all the soaps ever advertised could never wash off.
  2. Tremendously bad.
    • 2010, Roger Ebert, Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2010, page 599 ↗:
      Having now absorbed all or parts of 750 responses to my complaints about Transformers, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that most of those writing agree with me that it is a horrible movie.
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