Meaning of “badly” in the English Dictionary

"badly" in British English

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badlyadverb

uk /ˈbæd.li/ us /ˈbæd.li/ worse, worst

badly adverb (UNPLEASANTLY)

A2 in a severe and harmful way:

She was badly affected by the events in her childhood.
Fortunately, none of the passengers was badly hurt/injured in the crash.
I thought he was treated very badly.

More examples

  • The way he was shouting, you'd have thought he was badly hurt.
  • Both buildings were badly damaged by the fire.
  • The bush looked badly diseased, with black marks on all the leaves.
  • I think he feels a lot of anger towards his father who treated him very badly as a child.
  • It's hard to believe that he could treat his own family so badly.

badly adverb (IN A BAD WAY)

A2 in a way that is not acceptable or of good quality:

The event was really badly organized.
I thought he behaved very badly.
Their children are extremely badly behaved.

More examples

  • He's always badly dressed.
  • The pot had been badly glazed.
  • The talk she gave was incoherent and badly prepared.
  • The team has performed very badly this season.
  • The whole report is badly written.

(Definition of “badly” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"badly" in American English

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badlyadverb

us /ˈbæd·li/

badly adverb (MUCH)

[ not gradable ] not standard bad, /bæd/ much or very much:

The UN sent 90 tons of badly needed food.
Texas wants very badly to be considered tops in the school system.

badly adverb (IN UNACCEPTABLE WAY)

[ not gradable ] comparative worse /wɜrs/ , superlative worst /wɜrst/ not standard bad in a way that is not acceptable:

The event was badly organized.
He behaved badly.

badly adverb (SEVERELY)

comparative worse /wɜrs/ , superlative worst /wɜrst/ not standard bad in an extreme way; seriously or severely:

His face was badly bruised and swollen after the accident.
He took the news of his sister’s death badly.

(Definition of “badly” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)