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Horrible vs. Terrible: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sara Rehman || Published on December 4, 2023
Horrible describes something causing horror or disgust, while terrible indicates something extremely severe or serious in nature, often evoking fear or dread.

Key Differences

Horrible often conveys a sense of disgust or repulsion. Terrible, on the other hand, implies a sense of fear or overwhelming severity.
Sara Rehman
Dec 04, 2023
In usage, horrible can describe experiences, objects, or situations that are highly unpleasant or offensive. While, terrible is frequently used to describe events or situations with grave consequences or extreme intensity.
Sara Rehman
Dec 04, 2023
Horrible is associated with eliciting horror or revulsion, often relating to the senses. However, terrible might evoke a deeper, more intense emotional reaction like fear or alarm.
Huma Saeed
Dec 04, 2023
The term horrible is often used in everyday language to describe something that is very unpleasant. Whereas, terrible can denote something that is exceptionally bad or serious, often beyond mere unpleasantness.
Sara Rehman
Dec 04, 2023
Horrible might be used to describe something ghastly or gruesome in nature. In contrast, terrible often describes something formidable, causing great fear or apprehension.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 04, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Primary Connotation

Disgust and horror
Fear and severity
Sara Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Usage in Language

Describing unpleasant or offensive scenarios
Indicating extreme intensity or seriousness
Sara Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Emotional Reaction

Elicits revulsion or horror
Evokes fear or alarm
Sara Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Context of Use

Often in everyday unpleasant situations
Used for situations with grave consequences
Harlon Moss
Dec 04, 2023

Severity of Implication

Generally less severe, more about disgust
More about severity and extreme seriousness
Sara Rehman
Dec 04, 2023
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Horrible and Terrible Definitions

Horrible

Horrible is something extremely unpleasant or deplorable.
The living conditions in the camp were horrible.
Janet White
Nov 17, 2023

Terrible

Terrible implies a high degree of intensity or severity.
He was in terrible pain after the accident.
Janet White
Nov 17, 2023

Horrible

Horrible can describe a very bad or poor quality.
The play received horrible reviews.
Janet White
Nov 17, 2023

Terrible

Terrible is used for emphasizing the extent of something bad.
She had a terrible time trying to find a job.
Harlon Moss
Nov 17, 2023

Horrible

Horrible means causing or likely to cause horror.
The movie was so horrible that I couldn't watch it.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Terrible

Terrible means extremely bad or serious.
The earthquake caused terrible destruction.
Huma Saeed
Nov 17, 2023

Horrible

Horrible is used to express dismay or displeasure.
The weather today is absolutely horrible.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 17, 2023

Terrible

Terrible can describe something causing fear or dread.
There was a terrible storm last night.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Horrible

Horrible implies a sense of shock or disgust.
They found a horrible mess in the abandoned house.
Janet White
Nov 17, 2023

Terrible

Terrible can mean formidable in degree or extent.
He has a terrible temper when he's angry.
Sara Rehman
Nov 17, 2023

Horrible

Arousing or tending to arouse horror; dreadful
"War is beyond all words horrible" (Winston S. Churchill).
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Terrible

Causing great fear or alarm; dreadful
A terrible bolt of lightning.
A terrible curse.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Horrible

Very unpleasant; disagreeable.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Terrible

Extremely formidable
Terrible responsibilities.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Horrible

A thing that causes horror; a terrifying thing, particularly a prospective bad consequence asserted as likely to result from an act.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Terrible

Extreme in extent or degree; intense
"the life for which he had paid so terrible a price" (Leslie Fiedler).
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Horrible

A person wearing a comic or grotesque costume in a parade of horribles.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Horrible

Causing horror; terrible; shocking.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Horrible

Tremendously bad.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Horrible

Exciting, or tending to excite, horror or fear; dreadful; terrible; shocking; hideous; as, a horrible sight; a horrible story; a horrible murder.
A dungeon horrible on all sides round.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Horrible

Provoking horror;
An atrocious automobile accident
A frightful crime of decapitation
An alarming, even horrifying, picture
War is beyond all words horrible
An ugly wound
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

FAQs

What does terrible mean?

Extremely severe, serious, or causing fear.
Huma Saeed
Dec 04, 2023

Is horrible always negative?

Yes, it describes negative and unpleasant situations.
Sara Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Can terrible have a positive connotation?

Rarely, in some contexts, it might be used hyperbolically to mean formidable.
Sara Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

What does horrible mean?

Causing horror, very unpleasant or offensive.
Sara Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

How do emotions differ in horrible vs terrible?

Horrible evokes disgust or horror, terrible evokes fear or alarm.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 04, 2023

Can something be horrible but not terrible?

Yes, if it’s very unpleasant but not particularly serious or fearful.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 04, 2023

What is an example of a terrible situation?

Experiencing a terrible natural disaster.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 04, 2023

Can something be terrible but not horrible?

Yes, if it's severe or serious but not necessarily disgusting or horrifying.
Harlon Moss
Dec 04, 2023

Do horrible and terrible have the same intensity?

Not always; terrible often implies a higher degree of severity.
Sara Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Can foods be described as horrible?

Yes, especially if they taste very bad or are spoiled.
Janet White
Dec 04, 2023

Can horrible and terrible be used interchangeably?

While similar, they have different connotations; horrible is more about disgust, terrible about severity.
Sara Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Is terrible used for emotional states?

Often, particularly when describing intense or severe emotions.
Harlon Moss
Dec 04, 2023

Can terrible be used to describe a difficult task?

Yes, especially if the task is particularly daunting or hard.
Harlon Moss
Dec 04, 2023

Do horrible and terrible have different origins?

Yes, horrible comes from Latin 'horrere', while terrible from Latin 'terrere', meaning to
Harlon Moss
Dec 04, 2023

What is an example of a horrible situation?

Discovering a horrible smell in the kitchen.
Harlon Moss
Dec 04, 2023

What synonyms can be used for terrible?

Frightful, awful, dire.
Sara Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Can horrible be used in a casual context?

Yes, it's often used informally to describe less severe situations.
Harlon Moss
Dec 04, 2023

What synonyms can be used for horrible?

Disgusting, dreadful, appalling.
Janet White
Dec 04, 2023

Is horrible used for physical sensations?

It can be, especially if they cause discomfort or revulsion.
Sara Rehman
Dec 04, 2023

Is it appropriate to describe an accident as terrible?

Yes, particularly if it's serious or has severe consequences.
Janet White
Dec 04, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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