1. extremely or shockingly wicked, cruel, or brutal: an atrocious crime.
  2. shockingly bad or tasteless; dreadful; abominable: an atrocious painting; atrocious manners.


  1. extremely cruel or wicked; ruthlessatrocious deeds
  2. horrifying or shockingan atrocious road accident
  3. informal very bad; detestableatrocious writing

1660s, from stem of Latin atrox “fierce, savage, cruel” (see atrocity) + -ous. Colloquial sense “very bad” is late 19c. Related: Atrociously; atrociousness.

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