at worst

Idioms & Phrases

at worst

Also, at the worst.

  1. In the least favorable circumstance; under the most difficult conditions. For example, Convicted of taking a bribe, the official believed that at worst he would be sentenced to a few months in prison. [1500s]

  2. In the least favorable view or supposition, as in No harm done; at the worst I'll copy the tax return again. Chaucer used this sense in Troilus and Cressida: "For at the worst, it may yet short our way." [Late 1300s] For the antonym, see at best.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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