Date: 1300-1400
Origin: Perhaps from a Scandinavian language


nas‧ty S2 comparative nastier, superlative nastiest


nasty behaviour or remarks are extremely unkind and unpleasant:
a nasty temper
the nasty things that were being written about her
There's a nasty streak in her character.
Drivers often have a nasty habit of driving too close to cyclists.
nasty to
Don't be so nasty to your mum (=do not treat her unkindly).
get/turn nasty especially British English (=suddenly start behaving in a threatening way)
When Harry refused, Don turned nasty and went for him with both fists.


someone who is nasty behaves in an unkind and unpleasant way:
I went to school with him - he was nasty then and he's nasty now.
You're a nasty little brute!


a nasty experience, feeling, or situation is unpleasant
nasty shock/surprise
It gave me a nasty shock.
nasty feeling/suspicion
I had a nasty feeling that a tragedy was going to happen.
Life has a nasty habit of repeating itself.
He had a nasty accident while riding in the forest.
When you feel you've been cheated, it always leaves a nasty taste in the mouth (=makes you feel upset or angry afterwards).
The weather turned nasty towards the evening.

sight/smell etc

C having a bad appearance, smell, taste etc:
What's that nasty smell?
a market stall selling cheap and nasty watches


severe or very painful:
a nasty cut
He was carried off the field with a nasty injury.


a nasty substance is dangerous:
nasty chemicals

a nasty piece of work

British English someone who is dishonest, violent, or likely to cause trouble
nastily adverb
nastiness noun [uncountable]
video nastyWORD FOCUS: unkind WORD FOCUS: unkind
similar words: nasty, cruel, mean, inconsiderate, thoughtless, insensitive, unsympathetic, hard-hearted

See also
WORD FOCUS: horrible WORD FOCUS: horrible
taste or smell: nasty, not very nice, revolting, disgusting, foul, unpleasant, gross informal

experience, situation, or feeling: nasty, not very nice, terrible, unpleasant

person: nasty, not very nice, obnoxious, mean American English, unpleasant, objectionable

See also

Dictionary results for "nasty"
Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.