AskDefine | Define dreadful

Dictionary Definition

dreadful adj
1 causing fear or dread or terror; "the awful war"; "an awful risk"; "dire news"; "a career or vengeance so direful that London was shocked"; "the dread presence of the headmaster"; "polio is no longer the dreaded disease it once was"; "a dreadful storm"; "a fearful howling"; "horrendous explosions shook the city"; "a terrible curse" [syn: awful, dire, direful, dread(a), dreaded, fearful, fearsome, frightening, horrendous, horrific, terrible]
2 exceptionally bad or displeasing; "atrocious taste"; "abominable workmanship"; "an awful voice"; "dreadful manners"; "a painful performance"; "terrible handwriting"; "an unspeakable odor came sweeping into the room" [syn: atrocious, abominable, awful, painful, terrible, unspeakable]
3 very unpleasant

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Causing dread; bad.


causing dread


  1. A shocking or sensational crime
  2. A shocking or sensational report of a crime

Derived terms

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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