Bad (adj.)


ME: badd, badde, bad

Comparative ME– badder

Superlative ME –baddest

Common in the 14c-18c, but yielded to comparative worse and superlative worst.


Uncertain; possibly from Old English derogatory term bæddeland and its diminutive bædling "effeminate man, hermaphrodite, pederast," probably related to bædan "to defile."


- inferior in quality;

- wicked, evil, vicious; (esp. 13c.)

- in a privative sense: not good

- containing or characterized by errors, faulty;

- lacking or failing to conform to moral virtue, immoral; - with reference to sickness, injury, or unhappiness;

- in ill health, unwell, poorly, sick; suffering from disease or injury

Semantic shift'[4]

- from the derogatory meaning, bad used as a general term of approbation: good, excellent, impressive; esp. stylish or attractive which might have emerged from the ambivalence of expressions like bad nigger, used as a term of reproach by whites


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