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[uhg-lee] /ˈʌg li/
adjective, uglier, ugliest.
very unattractive or unpleasant to look at; offensive to the sense of beauty; displeasing in appearance.
disagreeable; unpleasant; objectionable:
ugly tricks; ugly discords.
morally revolting:
ugly crime.
threatening trouble or danger:
ugly symptoms.
mean; hostile; quarrelsome:
an ugly mood; an ugly frame of mind.
(especially of natural phenomena) unpleasant or dangerous:
ugly weather; an ugly sea.
Origin of ugly
1200-50; Middle English ugly, uglike < Old Norse uggligr fearful, dreadful, equivalent to ugg(r) fear + -ligr -ly
Related forms
uglily, adverb
ugliness, noun
superugly, adjective
1. ill-favored, hard-featured, uncomely, unsightly, unlovely, homely. 3. base, heinous, vile, monstrous, corrupt. 4. disadvantageous, ominous. 5. surly, spiteful. 6. stormy, tempestuous.
1. beautiful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for uglier
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Look at everything; and the uglier and more unpromising it is, let it be the closer examined.

  • No cruelty can be uglier in its ferocity than the cruelty of the coward.

    Creative Unity Rabindranath Tagore
  • The cat-fish, in spite of its ugly name and uglier looks, proved excellent, though somewhat rich—tasting very like an eel.

    Afar in the Forest W.H.G. Kingston
  • So he went on his lonely life, uglier and more hated than ever.

    Woodland Tales Ernest Seton-Thompson
  • Never was an uglier affront offered to the master of a ship.

    The Last Entry William Clark Russell
  • If my views cannot be refuted by Edwards, I may wait long for an "uglier customer."

    Slavery Ordained of God Rev. Fred A. Ross, D.D.
  • Tom Carroll, riding through Durham on business, was treated to ugly looks and uglier words.

    The Rules of the Game Stewart Edward White
  • If the Valley River was ugly from its bank it was uglier from its middle.

    Dwellers in the Hills Melville Davisson Post
British Dictionary definitions for uglier


adjective -lier, -liest
of unpleasant or unsightly appearance
repulsive, objectionable, or displeasing in any way: war is ugly
ominous or menacing: an ugly situation
bad-tempered, angry, or sullen: an ugly mood
Derived Forms
uglily, adverb
ugliness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old Norse uggligr dreadful, from ugga fear
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 uglier



mid-13c., uglike "frightful or horrible in appearance," from Old Norse uggligr "dreadful, fearful," from uggr "fear, apprehension, dread" (perhaps related to agg "strife, hate") + -ligr "-like." Meaning softened to "very unpleasant to look at" late 14c. Extended sense of "morally offensive" is attested from c.1300; that of "ill-tempered" is from 1680s.

Among words for this concept, ugly is unusual in being formed from a root for "fear, dread." More common is a compound meaning "ill-shaped" (e.g. Greek dyseides, Latin deformis, Irish dochrud, Sanskrit ku-rupa). Another Germanic group has a root sense of "hate, sorrow" (see loath). Ugly duckling (1877) is from the story by Hans Christian Andersen, first translated from Danish to English 1846. Ugly American "U.S. citizen who behaves offensively abroad" is first recorded 1958 as a book title.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for uglier



A machine gun, esp a submachine gun; tommy gun (1915+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with uglier
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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