dreadful early 13c., "full of dread," from DREAD (Cf. dread) + -FUL (Cf. -ful). Meaning "causing dread" is from mid-13c.; weakened sense of "very bad" is from c.1700. Related: Dreadfully.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dreadful — Dread ful, a. 1. Full of dread or terror; fearful. [Obs.] With dreadful heart. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 2. Inspiring dread; impressing great fear; fearful; terrible; as, a dreadful storm. Dreadful gloom. Milton. [1913 Webster] For all things are… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dreadful — ► ADJECTIVE 1) extremely bad or serious. 2) used for emphasis: a dreadful flirt. DERIVATIVES dreadfully adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • dreadful — index adverse (negative), bad (inferior), deplorable, detrimental, dire, disastrous, disreputable …   Law dictionary

  • dreadful — horrible, horrific, appalling, *fearful, awful, frightful, terrible, terrific, shocking …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • dreadful — [adj] horrible, frightening abominable, alarming, appalling, atrocious, awful, bad, beastly, creepy*, dire, distressing, fearful, formidable, frightful, frozen, ghastly, godawful*, grievous, grim, grody*, gross*, hideous, horrendous, horrific,… …   New thesaurus

  • dreadful — [dred′fəl] adj. [ME dredeful] 1. inspiring dread; terrible or awesome 2. Informal very bad, offensive, disagreeable, etc. dreadfulness n …   English World dictionary

  • dreadful — [[t]dre̱dfʊl[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED If you say that something is dreadful, you mean that it is very bad or unpleasant, or very poor in quality. They told us the dreadful news... My financial situation is dreadful. Syn: awful, appalling Derived words …   English dictionary

  • dreadful — I. adjective Date: 13th century 1. a. inspiring dread ; causing great and oppressive fear < a dreadful storm > b. inspiring awe or reverence < the dreadful sublimity of the mountain peaks > 2. extremely bad, distasteful, unpleasant, or shocking < …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • dreadful — adj. VERBS ▪ be, feel, look, smell, sound, taste ▪ Poor thing! You look absolutely dreadful! (= very ill) ADVERB ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • dreadful — dreadfulness, n. /dred feuhl/, adj. 1. causing great dread, fear, or terror; terrible: a dreadful storm. 2. inspiring awe or reverence. 3. extremely bad, unpleasant, or ugly: dreadful cooking; a dreadful hat. n. Brit. 4. See penny dreadful. 5. a… …   Universalium

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