Horrible and horrific are both related to horror but the words have different connotations. While horrible can be used to refer to something that is not liked or is disagreeable, horrific is a somewhat stronger adjective used to describe things which upset and frighten by their sheer mention. For example – "A horrible meal" and "A horrific war".

At times, both "horrible" and "horrific" can also be used to mean more or less the same thing, e.g. A horrific/horrible illness.

Comparison chart

Horrible versus Horrific comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartHorribleHorrific
Pronunciation /ˈhɔrəbəl, ˈhɒr-/ /hɔˈrɪfɪk, hɒ-/
Etymology From Middle English (alternately as horrible and orrible] in 1303 and from Old French horrible, from Latin horribilis, from horr(ēre) (“bristle with fear; shudder; stand on end; tremble)+ -ibilis (“-ible”). From Latin horrificus, from horrere (“to be horrible”) + -ficare (“to make (in comp.)”) and from French horrifique.
Synonyms Awful, terrible, atrocious, nasty. Appalling, shocking, dreadful, horrendous.
Comparative form More horrible More horrific
Superlative form Most horrible Most horrific
Derivatives Horribleness, horribly Horrifically
Antonyms Attractive Comforting, encouraging
The Scream by Edvard Munch can be horrific for some people (especially children) but is certainly not a horrible painting.
The Scream by Edvard Munch can be horrific for some people (especially children) but is certainly not a horrible painting.

Difference in meaning of Horrible and Horrific

Horrible is most often used to imply unpleasantness and disgust but can also be used to convey horror or fear. The word can be used as a noun and an adjective.

horrible as a Noun The use of "horrible" as a noun is fairly rare. A person wearing a funny or gross costume in a parade of horribles is called a horrible.

horrible as an Adjective

Horrific is always used an adjective.

Differences in Usage

Horrible is a word commonly used in normal everyday conversations in English. The food could be horrible or you could say that someones sense of style is horrible.

Horrific is a more formal word finding presence in newspapers and books to describe brutal crimes or fearful tragedies.


Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"Horrible vs Horrific." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 23 Nov 2021. < >