from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective More inferior, as in quality, condition, or effect.
  • adjective More severe or unfavorable.
  • adjective Being further from a standard; less desirable or satisfactory.
  • adjective Being in poorer health; more ill.
  • noun Something that is worse.
  • adverb In a worse manner; to a worse degree.
  • idiom (for better or (for) worse) Whether the situation or consequences be good or ill.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To become worse.
  • To worst; put to disadvantage; discomfit.
  • The comparative of bad, evil, ill; more bad, evil, ill, unfortunate, or undesirable; less valuable or perfect; more unfavorable or unsuccessful; less well in health, or less well off in worldly circumstances. See bad, evil, and ill.
  • Sometimes used substantively in the sense of something less good, desirable, fortunate, favorable, etc.
  • In logic, having, as a proposition, a character which, if belonging to one of two or more premises, must also belong to the conclusion.
  • In a more evil, wicked, severe, or disadvantageous manner; in a way that is less good, desirable, or favorable.
  • In a less or lower degree; less.
  • Less favorably or agreeably.
  • With more severity, intensity, etc.; in a greater degree.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • Bad, ill, evil, or corrupt, in a greater degree; more bad or evil; less good; specifically, in poorer health; more sick; -- used both in a physical and moral sense.
  • noun Loss; disadvantage; defeat.
  • noun That which is worse; something less good.
  • adverb In a worse degree; in a manner more evil or bad.
  • transitive verb To make worse; to put disadvantage; to discomfit; to worst. See worst, v.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective comparative form of bad: more bad
  • adjective this sense?) More ill.
  • adjective this sense?) Of lower quality, less desirable.
  • adjective this sense?) More severe or serious.
  • adjective this sense?) More evil.
  • adverb comparative form of badly: more badly
  • adverb comparative form of ill: more ill
  • adverb Less skillfully.
  • adverb More severely or seriously.
  • adverb Used to start a sentence.
  • verb obsolete, transitive To make worse; to put at disadvantage; to discomfit.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun something inferior in quality or condition or effect
  • adjective changed for the worse in health or fitness
  • adverb (comparative of `ill') in a less effective or successful or desirable manner
  • adjective (comparative of `bad') inferior to another in quality or condition or desirability


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English wyrsa; see wers- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English wyrsa


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word worse.


  • They made worse than nothing of it -- _worse_, I say, because they let and hindered those who might have made something of it.

    Fragments of science, V. 1-2

  • If the Opera is to be performed the day after to-morrow, there must be another private rehearsal to-morrow, or _each time it will be given worse and worse_.

    Beethoven's Letters 1790-1826, Volume 1

  • The general banter throughout the program between her, John, and I… was fine for the most part… until Adrienne’s frustration kept getting worse and worse…

    ugotsoul Diary Entry

  • IV. ii.71 (498,7) To do worse to you, were fell cruelty] To do _worse_ is, to let her and her children be destroyed without warning.

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies

  • What makes this worse is the fact that I have to imagine that a very large number of cars flooded, thus how many are post-K purchases?

    Your Right Hand Thief

  • What makes this worse is the fact that I don't believe in shitty first drafts.

    Writing blues

  • He did not like the Society, which he described as a worse scourge to humanity than communism.


  • The company said it sees fourth-quarter gross margin coming in about 3.4 percentage points below the year-earlier level, hurt by what it described as a worse-than-expected promotional environment, especially in footwear, as well as by rising costs and "a softer market for excess inventory." - Top Stories

  • Speaking from the Oval Office, Obama says he has put together a professional team to help clean up what he calls the worse environmental disaster that America has ever seen.

    TOP STORIES - YNN, Your News Now

  • What's even worse is the thought of having to be a person watching their spouse go through this, being powerless to stop it, and being left in a position of worrying each time whether their loved one will come back alive, and if so how physically and emotionally damaged they will be.

    MIND MELD: Memorable Short Stories to Add to Your Reading List (Part 2 of 2)


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  • WeirdNet is taking no chances here:

    (adj): bad; unfortunate


    (adj): exceedingly bad

    (adj): very bad


    (adj): poor to middling in quality

    February 6, 2008

  • Just for fun

    February 19, 2010