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Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, 8th edition

dread ful

BrE /dredfl/
NAmE /dredfl/
(especially BrE)

1 very bad or unpleasant

What dreadful weather!
What a dreadful thing to say!
It's dreadful the way they treat their staff.
How dreadful!
Jane looked dreadful (= looked ill or tired).

2 [only before noun] used to emphasize how bad sth is

He's a dreadful snob.
She's making a dreadful mess of things.
I'm afraid there's been a dreadful mistake.

3 [usually before noun] causing fear or suffering

a dreadful accident
They suffered dreadful injuries.

Oxford University Press, 2010