How to Say “Horrible” in Chinese: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you looking to expand your Chinese vocabulary and express the word “horrible” in different contexts? Look no further! In this guide, you’ll find various ways to say “horrible” in Chinese, including both formal and informal expressions. Regional variations will be mentioned if necessary. Let’s dive right in!

Formal Ways to Say “Horrible” in Chinese

When it comes to formal scenarios or polite conversations, these terms will help you convey the meaning of “horrible” in a professional manner:

  1. 可怕 (kěpà) – This word can be used to depict something that is fearsome or dreadful. It carries a formal tone and is suitable for serious situations. For instance, you might say, “这个事故的后果非常可怕” (zhège shìgù de hòuguǒ fēicháng kěpà), which means “The consequences of this accident are very horrible.”
  2. 恶劣 (èliè) – This term refers to something extremely bad or terrible, often used in a serious context. For example, “这个地方的环境恶劣” (zhège dìfang de huánjìng èliè) means “The environment in this place is horrible.”
  3. 糟糕 (zāogāo) – While this term can be used in both formal and informal situations, it is still considered more polite than some other alternatives. It conveys a sense of something going wrong or being in a disastrous state. For instance, you can say, “这个计划真是糟糕透了” (zhège jìhuà zhēnshi zāogāo tòule), meaning “This plan is horribly awful.”

Informal Ways to Say “Horrible” in Chinese

When informally expressing the word “horrible” in Chinese, you can use these more casual and commonly-used terms:

  1. 可怕 (kěpà) – Yes, this word can be used in both formal and informal situations. In colloquial contexts, it becomes a versatile term for describing something shocking or terrible. For instance, you might exclaim, “游戏结束后,他输得可怕” (yóuxì jiéshù hòu, tā shū dé kěpà), meaning “He lost the game horribly.”
  2. 糟糕 (zāogāo) – As mentioned earlier, this term can be used in informal situations as well. It is often used to describe an unfortunate or negative event. For example, you could say, “这餐厅的服务态度真糟糕!” (zhè cāntīng de fúwù tàidù zhēn zāogāo), which means “The service attitude at this restaurant is really horrible!”
  3. 太糟了 (tài zāo le) – This is a slightly stronger phrase and can be used when something is exceptionally terrible. For instance, you could say, “这个电影太糟了,完全浪费时间” (zhège diànyǐng tài zāo le, wánquán làngfèi shíjiān), which translates to “This movie is horrible, a complete waste of time!”

Regional Variations

Chinese is a diverse language with regional variations. When it comes to expressing “horrible,” regional dialects may have unique terms. However, the above-mentioned expressions are widely understood across different Chinese-speaking regions and should suffice in most situations.


In conclusion, this comprehensive guide provided you with a range of ways to say “horrible” in Chinese. Depending on the formality of the context, you can choose between formal or informal expressions. Remember, the usage of these terms may vary depending on the region, but the ones mentioned here are widely understood. So go ahead, practice these words, and expand your Chinese vocabulary! Learning new words is always an exciting journey!

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