Meaning of BAD in English

I. bad 1 S1 W1 /bæd/ BrE AmE adjective ( comparative worse /wɜːs $ wɜːrs/, superlative worst /wɜːst $ wɜːrst/)

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Origin: Perhaps from Old English bæddel 'male homosexual' ]

1 . NOT GOOD unpleasant or likely to cause problems OPP good :

I have some bad news for you.

I thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse.

The plane was delayed for several hours by bad weather.

It’s difficult to break bad habits.

a bad smell

2 . LOW QUALITY low in quality or below an acceptable standard OPP good :

The failure of the company was due to bad management.

Your handwriting is so bad I can hardly read it.

That was the worst movie I’ve ever seen.

3 . NOT SENSIBLE [usually before noun] not sensible, or not suitable in a particular situation OPP good :

Cutting spending at this time is a bad idea.

Making big changes in your diet all at once is a bad thing to do.

4 . MORALLY WRONG morally wrong or evil OPP good :

He’s a bad man – keep away from him.

⇨ ↑ bad guy

5 . WRONG BEHAVIOUR spoken doing something you should not do, or behaving in a wrong way – used especially about children or pets SYN naughty :

Katie was very bad today!

bad girl/dog etc

Bad cat! Get off the table!

6 . SERIOUS serious or severe:

He was in a bad accident.

The pain in my side is worse than it was yesterday.

7 . a bad time/moment etc a time that is not suitable or causes problems:

It’s a bad time to have to borrow money, with interest rates so high.

You’ve come at the worst possible moment. I have a meeting in five minutes.

8 . HARMFUL damaging or harmful:

Pollution is having a bad effect on fish stocks.

bad for

Smoking is bad for your health.

Too much salt can be bad for you.

It is bad for kids to be on their own so much.

9 . FOOD food that is bad is not safe to eat because it has decayed:

bad fish

This milk has gone bad.

10 . NO SKILL having no skill or ability in a particular activity

bad at (doing) something

I’m really bad at chess.

They have got to be the worst band on the planet.

11 . bad heart/leg/back etc a heart, leg etc that is injured or does not work correctly:

I haven’t been able to do much because of my bad back.

12 . LANGUAGE bad language is rude or offensive:

We were shocked to hear the little boy using bad language in front of his mother.

Jacky said a bad word!

13 . be in a bad mood ( also be in a bad temper British English ) to feel annoyed or angry:

The boss is in a bad mood.

14 . feel bad

a) to feel ashamed or sorry about something

feel bad about (doing) something

I felt bad about not being able to come last night.

feel bad for

I feel bad for Ann – she studied so hard for that test and she still didn’t pass.

b) to feel ill

15 . not bad spoken used to say that something is good, or better than you expected:

‘How are you?’ ‘Oh, not bad.’

That’s not a bad idea.

16 . not too/so bad spoken used to say that something is not as bad as expected:

The exams weren’t so bad.

17 . too bad spoken

a) used to say that you do not care that something bad happens to someone:

‘I’m going to be late now!’ ‘Too bad – you should have gotten up earlier.’

b) used to say that you are sorry that something bad has happened to someone:

It’s too bad that you couldn’t come to the party last night.

18 . go from bad to worse to become even more unpleasant or difficult:

The schools have gone from bad to worse in this area.

19 . be in a bad way informal to be very ill, unhappy, or injured, or not in a good condition:

She was in a bad way after the funeral.

20 . a bad name if something has a bad name, people do not respect or trust it

have/get a bad name

The bar had a bad name and was avoided by all the locals.

give somebody/something a bad name

These annoying tourists give all Americans a bad name.

21 . bad lot/sort/type British English old-fashioned someone who is morally bad or cannot be trusted

22 . bad penny British English someone or something that causes trouble and is difficult to avoid:

Sure enough, Steve turned up like the proverbial bad penny (=suddenly appeared) .

23 . be taken bad British English informal to become ill:

He was taken bad in the middle of the night.

24 . in bad faith if someone does something in bad faith, they are behaving dishonestly and have no intention of keeping a promise:

In order to sue, you have to prove that the company was acting in bad faith.

25 . bad news spoken informal someone or something that always causes trouble:

I’d avoid her if I were you. She’s bad news.

26 . bad form British English old-fashioned socially unacceptable behaviour:

It’s bad form to argue with the umpire.

27 . bad blood angry or bitter feelings between people

bad blood between

There’s too much bad blood between them.

28 . not have a bad word to say about/against somebody if no one has a bad word to say about a particular person, everyone likes and respects that person

29 . it’s bad enough ... spoken used to say that you already have one problem, so that you do not want to worry about or deal with another one:

It’s bad enough having to bring up three kids on your own, without having to worry about money as well!

30 . something can’t be bad spoken used to persuade someone that something is good or worth doing:

You only pay £10 deposit and no interest – that can’t be bad, can it?

31 . ( comparative badder , superlative baddest ) especially American English spoken informal

a) used when you think something is very good:

Now that’s a bad car!

b) someone who is bad is very determined and does not always obey rules – used to show approval

—badness noun [uncountable]

• • •


▪ bad not good:

a bad idea


His behaviour is getting worse.

▪ poor not as good as it could be or should be:

A poor diet can lead to ill health.


his poor performance at school

▪ not very good not good – often used instead of saying directly that something was ‘bad’, especially when you were disappointed by it:

The film wasn’t very good.

▪ disappointing not as good as you hoped or expected:

Her exam results were disappointing.


a disappointing start to the campaign

▪ negative bad – used when talking about the bad result or effect of something:

All the publicity had a negative impact on sales.


the negative effects of climate change

▪ undesirable formal bad and not wanted:

The policy had some undesirable consequences.


drug abuse and other undesirable behaviour

▪ unfavourable formal unfavourable conditions are not good for doing something:

The boat race was cancelled because of unfavourable weather.

■ very bad

▪ awful/terrible/dreadful especially British English very bad:

The movie was awful.


Her house is in a terrible state.


a dreadful crime

▪ horrible very bad, especially in a way that shocks or upsets you:

He describes prison as ‘a horrible place’.


It was a horrible exprerience.

▪ disgusting smelling or tasting very bad:

The food was disgusting.


The fish smelled disgusting.

▪ lousy /ˈlaʊzi/ informal very bad or disappointing:

The weather has been lousy all week.


I’m fed up with this lousy job.

▪ ghastly /ˈɡɑːstli $ ˈɡæstli/ British English informal very bad:

I’ve had a ghastly day.


a ghastly mistake

▪ severe severe problems, injuries, illnesses etc are very bad and serious:

The country faces severe economic problems.


severe delays


He suffered severe head injuries in a car crash.

▪ atrocious/appalling/horrendous extremely bad in a way that is shocking:

Her behaviour has been absolutely atrocious.


The country has an appalling human rights record.

▪ abysmal /əˈbɪzm ə l/ very bad and of a very low standard:

The team’s performance was abysmal.


the abysmal conditions in some prisons

II. bad 2 BrE AmE noun

1 . to the bad British English informal if you are a particular amount to the bad, you are that much poorer or you owe that much:

Thanks to your mistake, I’m £500 to the bad!

2 . my bad! American English spoken informal used to say that you have made a mistake or that something is your fault

3 . go to the bad British English old-fashioned to begin living in a wrong or immoral way

III. bad 3 BrE AmE adverb spoken

a word used to mean ‘badly’ that many people think is incorrect:

I need that money bad.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.