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  1. #1
    thedaffodils's Avatar
    thedaffodils is offline Key Member
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    Default horrible, horrid, horrendous

    I am not clear about the definitions from Cambridge Advanced Learners' Dictionary about horrible, horrid, horrendous as the following.

    Could someone please elucidate them? Thank you!

    horrid
    old-fashioned informal
    unpleasant or unkind; nasty
    Definition of horrid adjective from Cambridge Dictionary Online: Free English Dictionary and Thesaurus

    horrible
    very unpleasant or bad

    very shocking and frightening
    Definition of horrible adjective from Cambridge Dictionary Online: Free English Dictionary and Thesaurus

    horrendous
    extremely unpleasant or bad
    Definition of horrendous adjective from Cambridge Dictionary Online: Free English Dictionary and Thesaurus

  2. #2
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    Default Re: horrible, horrid, horrendous

    As the dictionary says, 'horrid' is old-fashioned.
    'horrendous' is more unpleasant/bad/shocking than 'horrible'

  3. #3
    MiaCulpa is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: horrible, horrid, horrendous

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    As the dictionary says, 'horrid' is old-fashioned.
    'horrendous' is more unpleasant/bad/shocking than 'horrible'
    I suspect I also may use another "rule of thumb" for distinguishing between these related words, and I'm curious what you think. I believe I use "horrid" for more specific situations, "horrible" for more immediate situations, and "horrendous" for more wide-spread situations: "a horrid child," "a horrible thought," or "a horrendous hurricane." (BTW, "horrid" is more common in AmE than in BrE, apparently. Not only do I hear it in everyday, informal speech, the 2007 American Heritage College Dictionary makes no mention of it's being old-fashioned).
    Last edited by MiaCulpa; 26-Dec-2010 at 10:31.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: horrible, horrid, horrendous

    Quote Originally Posted by MiaCulpa View Post
    I believe I use "horrid" for more specific situations, "horrible" for more immediate situations, and "horrendous" for more wide-spread situations: "a horrid child," "a horrible thought," or "a horrendous hurricane." (BTW, "horrid" is more common in AmE than in BrE, apparently. Not only do I hear it in everyday, informal speech, the 2007 American Heritage College Dictionary makes no mention of its being old-fashioned).
    I can't speak for AmE, but 'horrid' certainly appears to be old-fashioned in BrE. As regards your 'immediate/wide-spread' idea for 'horrible/horrendous, there may be something in it. It's not too different from my suggestion that 'horrendous is more unpleasant/bad shocking'. More wide-spread situations tend to be bigger in effect than smaller ones.
    Last edited by 5jj; 26-Dec-2010 at 13:10. Reason: mistake spotted

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: horrible, horrid, horrendous

    To me a horrid child would be an ill-mannered or impolite child, while a horrible child would be worse.

    I was surprised to see it given as old-fashioned, but then time passes, age withers....

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: horrible, horrid, horrendous

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    but then time passes, age withers....
    Don't make personal comments!

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: horrible, horrid, horrendous

    I suppose that makes me a horrid old man.

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