1. causing dismay or horror: an appalling accident; an appalling lack of manners.

verb (used with object), ap·palled, ap·pal·ling.

  1. appall.

verb (used with object)

  1. to fill or overcome with horror, consternation, or fear; dismay: He was appalled by the damage from the fire. I am appalled at your mistakes.


  1. causing extreme dismay, horror, or revulsion
  2. very bad

verb -pals, -palling or -palled or US -palls, -palling or -palled

  1. (tr) to fill with horror; shock or dismay

1620s, present participle adjective from appall. Colloquial weakened sense of “distasteful” is attested from 1919.


also appal, early 14c., “to fade;” c.1400, “to grow pale,” from Old French apalir “become or make pale,” from a- “to” (see ad-) + palir “grow pale,” from Latin pallere (see pallor). Meaning “cause dismay or shock,” is 1530s. Related: Appalled; appalling.

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