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Worse vs. Worst: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
"Worse" is the comparative form used to indicate that something is more bad or serious than another, while "worst" is the superlative form used to describe something as the most bad or serious in a group.
Worse vs. Worst

Key Differences

"Worse" is the comparative form of "bad." It is used to describe something that is more undesirable or of lower quality than another thing. For example, "This movie is worse than the last one." On the other hand, "Worst" is the superlative form of "bad," used to describe the most undesirable or lowest quality item in a group. An example would be, "Out of all the movies we've seen, this is the worst."
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In grammar, "worse" is employed when making comparisons between two elements, indicating that one is less favorable than the other. An example sentence is, "Her cooking is worse than mine." Conversely, "worst" is used when comparing three or more elements, signifying that one is the least favorable of all. For instance, "Of all the cooks in our family, her cooking is the worst."
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"Worse" often appears in contexts where the comparison is between two scenarios or objects, such as in the phrase, "The sequel was worse than the original." "Worst" is used to indicate the extreme end of quality or desirability, as in, "That movie was the worst of the trilogy."
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Nov 15, 2023
When using "worse," it suggests that the subject is inferior in some way to another, but not necessarily the most inferior in a larger group. For instance, "His performance today was worse than yesterday's." "Worst," however, implies being at the bottom of the hierarchy, as in, "His performance today was the worst of the season."
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In everyday language, "worse" and "worst" serve to express degrees of negativity. "Worse" is relative and not absolute, such as in, "Today's weather is worse than yesterday's." In contrast, "worst" conveys the absolute bottom level, like in, "This is the worst weather of the year."
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Comparison Chart

Form

Comparative
Superlative
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Number of Items Compared

Two
Three or more
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Degree of Negativity

More negative than another
Most negative in a group
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Usage in Sentences

"His skills are worse than hers."
"His skills are the worst in the team."
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Contextual Application

Between two items
Among three or more items
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Worse and Worst Definitions

Worse

More severe or serious
His condition is worse today.
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Worst

Most bad or severe
This is the worst storm of the century.
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Worse

More harmful or unfavorable
Pollution is getting worse.
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Worst

Least effective or successful
He was the worst player on the team.
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Worse

Less satisfactory
The sequel was worse than the original.
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Worst

Most serious or severe
It was the worst pain she ever felt.
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Worse

Of lower quality
This copy is worse than the first one.
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Worst

Most inferior, as in quality, condition, or effect
The worst hitter on the team.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

More inferior, as in quality, condition, or effect
This restaurant is worse than the one that used to be here.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

Most severe or unfavorable
The worst winter in years.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

More severe or unfavorable
The weather suddenly got worse.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

Being furthest from an ideal or a standard; least desirable or satisfactory
This is the worst cafeteria!.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

Being further from a standard; less desirable or satisfactory.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

In the worst manner or degree.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

Being in poorer health; more ill
I felt worse after eating that pizza.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

To gain the advantage over; defeat
Was worsted in the argument.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

Something that is worse
Of the two routes, the eastern one is the worse. She was accused of cheating on exams, lying, and worse.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

Something that is worst.
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Worse

In a worse manner; to a worse degree.
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Worst

Most inferior; doing the least good.
I think putting oil on a burn is the worst thing you can do.
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Worse

.
He's worse-mannered than she is.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

Most unfavorable.
That's the worst news I've had all day.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

Less skillfully.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

Most harmful or severe.
The worst storm we had last winter knocked down our power lines.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

More severely or seriously.
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Worst

Used with the definite article and an implied noun: something that is worst.
None of these photographs of me are good, but this one is definitely the worst.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

Used to start a sentence describing something that is worse.
Her leg is infected. Still worse, she's developing a fever.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

Something or someone that is the worst.
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Worse

To make worse; to put at disadvantage; to discomfit.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

To make worse.
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Worse

(obsolete) Loss; disadvantage; defeat.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

To grow worse; to deteriorate.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

That which is worse; something less good.
Do not think the worse of him for his enterprise.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

(rare) To outdo or defeat, especially in battle.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

Bad, ill, evil, or corrupt, in a greater degree; more bad or evil; less good; specifically, in poorer health; more sick; - used both in a physical and moral sense.
Or worse, if men worse can devise.
[She] was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.
Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse.
There are men who seem to believe they are not bad while another can be found worse.
"But I love him." "Love him? Worse and worse."
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

Bad, evil, or pernicious, in the highest degree, whether in a physical or moral sense. See Worse.
I have a wife, the worst that may be.
If thou hadst not been born the worst of men,Thou hadst been a knave and flatterer.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

Loss; disadvantage; defeat.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

That which is most bad or evil; the most severe, pernicious, calamitous, or wicked state or degree.
The worst is notSo long as we can say, This is the worst.
He is always sure of finding diversion when the worst comes to the worst.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

That which is worse; something less good; as, think not the worse of him for his enterprise.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

To gain advantage over, in contest or competition; to get the better of; to defeat; to overthrow; to discomfit.
The . . . Philistines were worsted by the captivated ark.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

In a worse degree; in a manner more evil or bad.
Now will we deal worse with thee than with them.
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

To grow worse; to deteriorate.
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Worse

Something inferior in quality or condition or effect;
For better or for worse
Accused of cheating and lying and worse
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

The least favorable outcome;
The worst that could happen
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Worse

(comparative of `bad') inferior to another in quality or condition or desirability;
This road is worse than the first one we took
The road is in worse shape than it was
She was accused of worse things than cheating and lying
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Worst

The greatest damage or wickedness of which one is capable;
The invaders did their worst
So pure of heart that his worst is another man's best
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

Changed for the worse in health or fitness;
I feel worse today
Her cold is worse
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Worst

The weakest effort or poorest achievement one is capable of;
It was the worst he had ever done on a test
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Oct 19, 2023

Worse

(comparative of `ill') in a less effective or successful or desirable manner;
He did worse on the second exam
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

Defeat thoroughly;
He mopped up the floor with his opponents
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Worse

Inferior in condition or state
The roads are worse after the storm.
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Nov 15, 2023

Worst

(superlative of `bad') most wanting in quality or value or condition;
The worst player on the team
The worst weather of the year
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Worst

To the highest degree of inferiority or badness;
She suffered worst of all
Schools were the worst hit by government spending cuts
The worst dressed person present
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Oct 19, 2023

Worst

Most harmful or unfavorable
That plan had the worst outcome.
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Worst

Lowest in quality
This is the worst meal I've ever had.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can "worse" be used for more than two items?

Generally, "worse" is used for two-item comparisons.
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Nov 15, 2023

Is "worst" only for negative contexts?

Yes, it denotes the most negative in a group.
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Nov 15, 2023

What part of speech is "worse"?

It's an adjective and sometimes an adverb.
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When do I use "worse"?

Use "worse" when comparing two things.
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Nov 15, 2023

How does "worst" function in a sentence?

As a superlative, it often describes the noun of the lowest rank.
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Nov 15, 2023

What is "worse"?

A comparative adjective indicating something is more bad or serious than another.
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Nov 15, 2023

What part of speech is "worst"?

It's an adjective and sometimes an adverb.
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Nov 15, 2023

How does "worse" function in a sentence?

It typically modifies nouns or serves as an adverb.
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Nov 15, 2023

What is "worst"?

A superlative adjective indicating something is the most bad or serious in a group.
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Nov 15, 2023

When do I use "worst"?

Use "worst" when comparing three or more things.
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Nov 15, 2023

Can "worse" and "worst" be used interchangeably?

No, they serve different comparative purposes.
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Nov 15, 2023

Is "worst" subjective?

It can be, depending on the context.
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Nov 15, 2023

Are "worse" and "worst" always obvious in usage?

Context often dictates their appropriate use.
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Nov 15, 2023

Is "worse" subjective?

Yes, it often depends on personal judgment.
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Nov 15, 2023

Example of "worst" in a sentence?

"This is the worst performance of the season."
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Can "worse" imply progression?

Yes, it can indicate a decline from a previous state.
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Nov 15, 2023

Example of "worse" in a sentence?

"Her performance today was worse than yesterday."
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Nov 15, 2023

Does "worst" imply finality?

Often, it suggests no worse condition is possible.
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Nov 15, 2023

Can "worse" be used positively?

Rarely, it's mostly used in negative contexts.
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Nov 15, 2023

Can "worst" be used in a positive sense?

No, it's inherently negative.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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