The definition of dreadful is terrible, shocking or very disturbing.
An example of something dreadful is a horrific car crash scene.
- inspiring dread; terrible or awesome
- very bad, offensive, disagreeable, etc.
Origin of dreadfulMiddle English dredeful
- Extremely bad, unpleasant, or distasteful: dreadful prose; this dreadful heat.
- Inspiring dread; terrible: dreadful noises; a dreadful tragedy.
- Nouns to which "dreadful" is often applied: day, night, state, news, time, secret, storm, mistake, accident, story, dream, havoc, truth, loss, act, life, thought, creature, curse, suffering.
From Middle English dredful, dredeful, equivalent to dread + -ful.