bad

bad (adj.) c.1200, "inferior in quality;" early 13c., "wicked, evil, vicious," a mystery word with no apparent relatives in other languages.* Possibly from O.E. derogatory term bæddel and its dim. bædling "effeminate man, hermaphrodite, pederast," probably related to bædan "to defile." A rare word before 1400, and EVIL (Cf. evil) was more common in this sense until c.1700. Meaning "uncomfortable, sorry" is 1839, American English colloquial.
Comparable words in the other I.E. languages tend to have grown from descriptions of specific qualities, such as "ugly," "defective," "weak," "faithless," "impudent," "crooked," "filthy" (e.g. Gk. kakos, probably from the word for "excrement;" Rus. plochoj, related to O.C.S. plachu "wavering, timid;" Pers. gast, O.Pers. gasta-, related to gand "stench;" Ger. schlecht, originally "level, straight, smooth," whence "simple, ordinary," then "bad").
Comparative and superlative forms badder, baddest were common 14c.-18c. and used as recently as Defoe (but not by Shakespeare), but yielded to comp. WORSE (Cf. worse) and superl. WORST (Cf. worst) (which had belonged to evil and ill).
As a noun, late 14c., "evil, wickedness." In U.S. place names, sometimes translating native terms meaning "supernaturally dangerous." Ironic use as a word of approval is said to be at least since 1890s orally, originally in Black English, emerging in print 1928 in a jazz context. It might have emerged from the ambivalence of expressions like bad nigger, used as a term of reproach by whites, but among blacks sometimes representing one who stood up to injustice, but in the U.S. West bad man also had a certain ambivalence:
These are the men who do most of the killing in frontier communities, yet it is a noteworthy fact that the men who are killed generally deserve their fate. [Farmer & Henley]
*Farsi has bad in more or less the same sense as the English word, but this is regarded by linguists as a coincidence. The forms of the words diverge as they are traced back in time (Farsi bad comes from M.Pers. vat), and such accidental convergences exist across many languages, given the vast number of words in each and the limited range of sounds humans can make to signify them. Among other coincidental matches with English are Korean mani "many," Chinese pei "pay," Nahuatl (Aztecan) huel "well," Maya hol "hole."

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Bad [1] — Bad, im transitiven Sinne das Benetzen und Abwaschen des Körpers oder eines Körperteiles (Teilbad) mit Wasser oder das Einhüllen mit Gasen, Asche, Sand, Erde, Schlamm, Laub, Oel u.s.w. bei nachfolgender Reinigung. Alle Bäder, deren Wirkung auf… …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • bad — 1 Bad, evil, ill, wicked, naughty are comparable when they mean not meeting with the approval of the ethical consciousness. Bad is a very general term and applies to anyone or anything reprehensible, for whatever reason and to whatever degree… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • bad — bad1 [bad] adj. worse, worst [ME bad, badde < ? OE bæddel, hermaphrodite] 1. a) not good; not as it should be [a bad attitude, a bad deal] b) defective in quality; below standard; inadequate [bad plumbing] 2 …   English World dictionary

  • Bad as Me — Студийный альбом Тома Уэйтса Дата выпуска …   Википедия

  • bad — adj: not valid: void bad notice; esp: not covered by sufficient funds a bad check Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • Bad — (b[a^]d), a. [Compar. {Worse} (w[^u]s); superl. {Worst} (w[^u]st).] [Probably fr. AS. b[ae]ddel hermaphrodite; cf. b[ae]dling effeminate fellow.] Wanting good qualities, whether physical or moral; injurious, hurtful, inconvenient, offensive,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bad — [adj1] poor quality abominable, amiss, atrocious, awful, bad news*, beastly, blah*, bottom out, bummer*, careless, cheap, cheesy*, crappy*, cruddy*, crummy*, defective, deficient, diddly*, dissatisfactory, downer*, dreadful, erroneous, fallacious …   New thesaurus

  • Bad as Me — Album par Tom Waits Sortie 24 octobre 2011 (Europe), 25 octobre 2011 (États Unis) Genre Rock expérimental, blues, rock Producteur …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bad — Bad: Bad  альбом Майкла Джексона. Bad  сингл Майкла Джексона с одноимённого альбома. См. также Bad World Tour первый мировой концертный тур Майкла Джексона как сольного артиста. Bad Company британская группа электронной музыки в жанре… …   Википедия

  • Bad — Sn std. (8. Jh.), mhd. bat ( des), ahd. bad, as. bath Stammwort. Aus g. * baþa n. Bad , auch in anord. bađ Dampfbad , ae. bæþ, afr. be(i)th. Vermutlich to Bildung zu bähen erwärmen , doch ist die Bildung kaum unabhängig von dem Mittelmeerwort *… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

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