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[uh-troh-shuh s] /əˈtroʊ ʃəs/
extremely or shockingly wicked, cruel, or brutal:
an atrocious crime.
shockingly bad or tasteless; dreadful; abominable:
an atrocious painting; atrocious manners.
Origin of atrocious
1660-70; atroci(ty) + -ous
Related forms
atrociously, adverb
atrociousness, noun
1. felonious, heinous, monstrous, diabolical, devilish. 2. execrable; detestable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for atrocious
  • So characteristic of a company with considerable potential but widely known for atrocious customer service.
  • She was, however, quite indignant about my description of her atrocious driving.
  • When we started managing the garden, the soil here was atrocious.
  • Today it's better known for its atrocious safety record.
  • The roads are atrocious.
  • The public schools where I live are atrocious.
  • But the timing was atrocious.
  • The ideas were solid, but the writing was atrocious.
  • Conditions are atrocious, even by local standards.
  • What is atrocious is the feeling, not the images.
British Dictionary definitions for atrocious


extremely cruel or wicked; ruthless: atrocious deeds
horrifying or shocking: an atrocious road accident
(informal) very bad; detestable: atrocious writing
Derived Forms
atrociously, adverb
atrociousness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin ātrōx dreadful, from āter black
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for atrocious

1660s, from stem of Latin atrox "fierce, savage, cruel" (see atrocity) + -ous. Colloquial sense "very bad" is late 19c. Related: Atrociously; atrociousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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