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the terrible twos

A developmental stage of children, generally at or around the age of two, marked by increased rebelliousness and frequent tantrums. Becca's been having really bad temper tantrums lately and just keeps saying "no" to everything we say to her. I guess she's going into the terrible twos.
See also: terrible, two

a mind is a terrible thing to waste

Education and exercising one's mind is important. No, you absolutely must go to college after you graduate in the spring! A mind is a terrible thing to waste!
See also: mind, terrible, thing, waste

enfant terrible

A famous person who is known to behave inappropriately, often to others' shock or horror. As this phrase is French for "terrible child," it is typically pronounced with a French accent. If you continue to have tantrums on the court, you will be known as the enfant terrible of tennis. He is the enfant terrible of high society, so of course he wore blue jeans to the gala.
See also: terrible

I'm terrible at names.

 and I'm awful at names.
I can't seem to remember anyone's name. (Said as an apology to someone whose name you have forgotten.) I'm terrible at names. Please tell me yours again. Haven't we met already? I'm awful at names.
See also: name, terrible

paint a terrible, depressing, rosy, etc. ˈpicture (of somebody/something)

describe something in a particular way; give a particular impression of somebody/something, often a negative one: You paint a depressing picture of your childhood!People who don’t like students paint the worst possible picture of their behaviour.The book paints a vivid picture of life in the city.
See also: paint, picture
References in periodicals archive ?
The terribleness of justice is to claim that Santa owes us something because we have agreed to be virtuous.
What follows is a revision of my scholarly self and opinions that is, at least in part, a function of my shudder at the utter terribleness of our new millennium" (p.
allowing the inhumanity, the terribleness of war to remain attached to
Some people get really depressed at all the terribleness out there, and others see inspiration for a cheeky new skirt length.
So much seems to be compressed into those simple words: that the sailor was not doing anything very terrible; that the terribleness was in her mother's imagination; that her mother was directly responsible for her own terror of the sexual act.
Since then I have written one hundred such works at every hint, but this one remains a true in memoriam to my enfant terribleness.
It has been a decade of awfulness, 10 years of despair, 3,652 days of utter terribleness.
Hence, Morrison might be expected to share the old midwife Lone's subsequent use of exceptionalist rhetoric: "How hard they had worked for this place; how far away they once were from the terribleness they have just witnessed.
Review of In Our Terribleness (some elements and meaning black style) by Imamu Amiri Baraka and Fundi]
If the thing is something you think is terrible, that is bad enough, and at that time I thought the terribleness was just in the thing I had done.
The comic moments in As I Lay Dying are genuinely amusing, but almost invariably they merge with events of a truly compelling terribleness.