worst (adj.)

Old English wyrresta, from Proto-Germanic *wers-ista- (source also of Old Saxon wirsista, Old Norse verstr, Old Frisian wersta, Old High German wirsisto), superlative of PIE *wers- (1) "to confuse, mix up" (see war (n.)). Phrase in the worst way (1839) is from American English sense of "most severely." The adverb is Old English wyrst; the noun, "that which is most evil or bad," is from late 14c.

worst (v.)

"damage, inflict loss upon," c. 1600, from worst (adj.). Meaning "defeat in argument" is from 1650s. Related: Worsted; worsting.

updated on April 08, 2014

Definitions of worst from WordNet
worst (n.)
the least favorable outcome;
the worst that could happen
worst (n.)
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
worst (n.)
the weakest effort or poorest achievement one is capable of;
it was the worst he had ever done on a test
worst (v.)
defeat thoroughly;
Synonyms: pip / mop up / whip / rack up
worst (adv.)
to the highest degree of inferiority or badness;
She suffered worst of all
the worst dressed person present
schools were the worst hit by government spending cuts
worst (adj.)
(superlative of `bad') most wanting in quality or value or condition;
the worst player on the team
the worst weather of the year
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.