adj. ug·li·er, ug·li·est
1. Displeasing to the eye; unsightly.
a. Repulsive or offensive; objectionable: an ugly remark.
b. Chiefly Southern US Rude: Don't be ugly with me.
c. New England Unmanageable. Used of animals, especially cows or horses.
3. Morally reprehensible; bad.
4. Threatening or ominous: ugly black clouds.
a. Likely to cause embarrassment or trouble: "Public opinion in both nations could take an ugly turn" (George R. Packard).
b. Marked by or inclined to anger or bad feelings; disagreeable: an ugly temper; an ugly scene.
n. pl. ug·lies
One that is ugly.
[Middle English, frightful, repulsive, from Old Norse uggligr, from uggr, fear.]
Synonyms: ugly, grotesque, hideous, ill-favored, unsightly
These adjectives mean offensive to the sense of sight: ugly furniture; a grotesque monster; a hideous scar; an ill-favored countenance; an unsightly billboard.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.