adverb, worse, worst.

  1. in a defective, incorrect, or undesirable way: The car runs badly.
  2. in an unsatisfactory, inadequate, or unskilled manner: a vague, badly written letter; He paints badly.
  3. unfavorably: His neighbors spoke badly of him. The weather turned out badly for the cruise.
  4. in a wicked, evil, or morally or legally wrong way.
  5. in a disobedient, naughty, or ethically or socially wrong way: He treats his parents badly.
  6. very much; to a great extent or degree: a house badly in need of repair; to want something badly.
  7. severely; direly: to be injured badly.
  8. with great distress, resentment, regret, or emotional display: She took the news of her mother’s death badly.


  1. in ill health; sick: He felt badly.
  2. sorry; regretful: I feel badly about your reaction to my remark.
  3. dejected; downcast.

  1. badly off. bad1(def 41).

adverb worse or worst

  1. poorly; defectively; inadequatelythe chair is badly made
  2. unfavourably; unsuccessfully; unfortunatelyour scheme worked out badly
  3. severely; gravelyhe was badly hurt
  4. incorrectly or inaccuratelyto speak German badly
  5. improperly; naughtily; wickedlyto behave badly
  6. without humanity; cruellyto treat someone badly
  7. very much (esp in the phrases need badly, badly in need of, want badly)
  8. regretfullyhe felt badly about it
  9. badly off poor; impoverished


  1. (postpositive) Northern English dialect ill; poorly

c.1300, “unluckily;” late 14c., “wickedly, evilly; poorly, inadequately,” from bad + -ly (2).

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