unpleasant or offensive in a physical or moral way; characterized by a desire to harm others or cause trouble.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Disgusting, revolting, foul, objectionable, repugnant, unpleasant, unsavory, offensive, mean, vicious


Nice, pleasant, agreeable, lovely, good-natured, kind

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun nastinesses, nastiness
Verb None
Adjective nasty
Adverb nastily

Example Sentences

  • The nasty odor coming from the dumpster was making it difficult to breathe.

  • The nasty comment she made during the meeting left everyone feeling hurt and disrespected, creating a tense and uncomfortable atmosphere.

  • His nasty behavior towards his subordinates revealed his lack of empathy and a toxic leadership style that undermined morale.

  • The nasty gossip spread like wildfire, tarnishing reputations and causing deep divisions among friends and colleagues.


The word “nasty” has evolved over time with its meaning and usage undergoing several transformations. It originated from the Old French word “nastre,” which meant “wicked” or “vicious.” The term “nasty” is often associated with negative qualities, offensive behavior, or unpleasantness.

The prefix “n-” in “nasty” serves as an intensifier, reinforcing the negative connotations of the word. The suffix “-y” is added to the root to form the adjective. The root of “nasty” is not directly traceable to a single word but is believed to be influenced by various Germanic and Old English terms related to filth, dirt, or corruption.

The usage of “nasty” encompasses a wide range of meanings and contexts. It can describe something that is physically dirty, unclean, or unpleasant. It can also refer to offensive or malicious behavior, such as making hurtful remarks or engaging in spiteful actions. Additionally, “nasty” can denote something that is disagreeable, difficult, or challenging to deal with.

In modern usage, “nasty” has expanded beyond its original connotations of wickedness or vileness. It is often used to describe negative characteristics, attitudes, or situations. It can be employed to highlight behavior that is mean-spirited, aggressive, or hostile. Additionally, “nasty” can be used metaphorically to describe an unpleasant taste, smell, or overall experience.

Variations of the word “nasty” include “nastily” as an adverb form and “nastiness” as a noun form.

Understanding the history and usage of “nasty” helps us recognize its negative implications and prompts us to strive for kindness, respect, and empathy in our interactions. It reminds us to choose our words and actions carefully, fostering a more positive and harmonious environment.