Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably


[nas-tee] /ˈnæs ti/
adjective, nastier, nastiest.
physically filthy; disgustingly unclean:
a nasty pigsty of a room.
offensive to taste or smell; nauseating.
offensive; objectionable:
a nasty habit.
vicious, spiteful, or ugly:
a nasty dog; a nasty rumor.
bad or hard to deal with, encounter, undergo, etc.; dangerous; serious:
a nasty cut; a nasty accident.
very unpleasant or disagreeable:
nasty weather.
morally filthy; obscene; indecent:
a nasty word.
Slang. formidable:
The young pitcher has a good fast ball and a nasty curve.
noun, plural nasties.
Informal. a nasty person or thing.
Origin of nasty
1350-1400; Middle English < ?
Related forms
nastily, adverb
nastiness, noun
1. dirty, foul, loathsome. 2. sickening, repulsive, repellent. 6. stormy, inclement. 7. smutty, pornographic.
1. clean, pure. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for nastily
Contemporary Examples
  • David Foster Wallace nastily imagined readers “under 40” asking about Updike, in a 1997 essay.

    Writing Off Updike Lee Siegel January 31, 2009
Historical Examples
  • Her candle had burned down, and she nastily wrapped a shawl around her with trembling hands and hurried into the next room.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • "When I want to hear your side of the story, I'll ask you for it," Goil said nastily.

    Jack of No Trades Charles Cottrell
  • “That you bestow feeling of any sort, to such degree, is flattering,” said he nastily.

    The House of Fulfilment George Madden Martin
  • "Doesn't take her mind off herself," suggested the doctor, nastily.

    Mavis of Green Hill Faith Baldwin
  • “I say though, but you kept it devilish dark,” he said, nastily.

    A Frontier Mystery Bertram Mitford
  • "You don't seem to have much confidence in your own medical opinions," he said nastily.

    In Jeopardy Van Tassel Sutphen
  • (nastily spoken) I always said, if she came there would be trouble.

    Niobe, All Smiles Harry Paulton and Edward A. (Edward Antonio) Paulton
  • "I imagine our own people will be able to look after us," she answered quite as nastily.

    Through the Eye of the Needle William Dean Howells
  • I have had my passions, and once I was in love with a lady—very handsome—and I loved her nastily, like a dog.

    The Live Corpse Leo Tolstoy
British Dictionary definitions for nastily


adjective -tier, -tiest
unpleasant, offensive, or repugnant
(of an experience, condition, etc) unpleasant, dangerous, or painful: a nasty wound
spiteful, abusive, or ill-natured
obscene or indecent
(Brit, informal) nasty piece of work, a cruel or mean person
noun (pl) -ties
an offensive or unpleasant person or thing: a video nasty
Derived Forms
nastily, adverb
nastiness, noun
Word Origin
C14: origin obscure; probably related to Swedish dialect nasket and Dutch nestig dirty
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for nastily



c.1400, "foul, filthy, dirty, unclean," of unknown origin; perhaps [Barnhart] from Old French nastre "miserly, envious, malicious, spiteful," shortened form of villenastre "infamous, bad," from vilein "villain" + -astre, pejorative suffix, from Latin -aster.

Alternative etymology [OED] is from Dutch nestig "dirty," literally "like a bird's nest." Likely reinforced in either case by a Scandinavian source (cf. Swedish dialectal naskug "dirty, nasty"), which also might be the source of the Middle English word. Of weather, from 1630s; of things generally, "unpleasant, offensive," from 1705. Of people, "ill-tempered," from 1825. Noun meaning "something nasty" is from 1935. Related: Nastily; nastiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for nastily



Good; stylish; admirable (1834+)


  1. Something unpleasant, repulsive, etc: pathos, poverty, and other real-life nasties (1971+)
  2. The sex act: We caught them doing the nasty in his bedroom
  3. A vicious person; villain: takes her family on a river trip, where they are taken prisoner by nasties/ a few of the nasties are scenery-chomping, world-class scum (1930s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for nasty

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for nastily

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for nastily