what does "lousy" mean?

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jctgf

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Hi,

I have been hearing/reading this word very often but I am not sure I know what it mean.

Can I say:

I don't recommend them. The service they provided us is lousy.

This shirt is lousy. The color has faded away after only one wash!

This camera takes lousy (bad) pictures.

Can I use it in informal situations?

Is it also a dirty word? Should I avoid using it?


Thanks,
JC
 

riverkid

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Hi,

I have been hearing/reading this word very often but I am not sure I know what it mean.

Can I say:

I don't recommend them. The service they provided us is lousy.

This shirt is lousy. The color has faded away after only one wash!

This camera takes lousy (bad) pictures.

Can I use it in informal situations?

Is it also a dirty word? Should I avoid using it?


Thanks,
JC

It isn't a dirty word, JC. It comes from, [I think there's a connection though I'm not certain] a thing being filled with lice, [1 louse/2,3,4 lice] hence the thing was lousy.

It's key words in the Activator are BAD and 'BAD at doing something'.

=============
BAD

1 bad films/books/methods/food/etc.

bad/no good/awful/lousy/terrible/dreadful/rubbish/garbage/crap/suck

=========
'BAD at doing something'.

2 very bad at doing something

terrible/awful/hopeless/lousy/pathetic/incompetent/can't do sth to save your life

Synonyms are terrible, really bad, awful
 

Ouisch

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There is a classic scene on an episode of I Love Lucy regarding this word. The Ricardos and the Mertzes are being tutored in Proper English. One of them answers a question with "OK," and the tutor tells them:

"Did you say 'OK'? We must rid our vocabulary of slang. Now, besides 'OK,' there are two other words you must never use. One of them is 'swell,' and the other one is 'lousy.'"

Fred replies: "Give us the lousy one first."

The tutor gets flustered because his students don't understand his meaning. He asks for a glass of water, and Lucy replies, "OK" as she gets up. Then she catches her error:

"Oops. I would say 'OK' - that's a swell way to get off to a lousy start." :)
 
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