worst

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at the worst

At or of the worst, least favorable, or least desirable outcome possible. Often indicates a belief or insinuation that such an outcome will not be disastrous or that a more positive outcome is as likely. Our house wasn't too badly damaged from the flood. We'll have to replace the downstairs carpets at the worst. Although I didn't study for the test, I figured I'd get a B at the worst because the teacher takes his questions right from our homework.
See also: worst

at the very worst

At or of the worst, least favorable, or least desirable outcome possible. Often indicates a belief or insinuation that such an outcome will not be disastrous or that a more positive outcome is as likely. You should ask him out on a date. At the very worst, he might say no, which really isn't that big a deal! He thought at the very worst he'd get detention for bringing alcohol to school; he wasn't expecting them to expel him.
See also: very, worst

Doctors make the worst patients.

It is difficult to give people help or advice on something in which they are professionals, because they often feel as though they already know better than anyone else how to handle the situation or perform a given task. Mary tried to convince her boss at the bank to see a credit advisor about his growing debt, but he kept insisting that he knew how to manage his money. Doctors make the worst patients.
See also: Doctor, make, worst

worst comes to worst

The least ideal or preferred outcome happens. Often used with "if," as in "if worst comes to worst." Even if worst comes to worst and it rains on our wedding day, we'll make the best of it. I know you don't want to think about it, but, worst comes to worst—what would you do in a zombie apocalypse?
See also: come, worst

at (the) worst

in the most negative or pessimistic view. At worst, Tom can be seen as greedy. Ann will receive a ticket for careless driving, at the worst.
See also: worst

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst,

 and Hope for the best but expect the worst.
Prov. You should have a positive attitude, but make sure you are ready for disaster. While my father was in the hospital after his heart attack, we hoped for the best and prepared for the worst. When you study for a major exam, hope for the best but expect the worst. Don't make yourself anxious worrying that it will be too difficult, but review as if you expect the exam to be extremely hard.
See also: and, hope, prepare, worst

I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

 and I wouldn't wish that on a dog.
Fig. I would not wish that to happen to even the worst or lowliest person. A skunk sprayed him! I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. What a hideous disease! I wouldn't wish that on a dog.
See also: enemy, on, wish, worst

if (the) worst comes to (the) worst

Prov. in the worst possible circumstances; if the worst possible thing should happen. We should be able to catch the four-thirty train, but if the worst comes to the worst, we could get a taxi and still get into town on time. Of course, I hope that your wife's health recovers, but if worst comes to worst, I want you to know that we'd be happy to have you stay with us.
See also: come, if, worst

in the worst way

Fig. very much. I want a new car in the worst way. Bob wants to retire in the worst way.
See also: way, worst

*one's own worst enemy

Fig. consistently causing oneself to fail; more harmful to oneself than other people are. (*Typically: be ~; become ~.) Ellen: My boss is my enemy. She never says anything good about me. Jane: Ellen, you're your own worst enemy. If you did your job responsibly, your boss would be nicer.
See also: enemy, worst

*worst of something

the poorest share of something; the worst part of something. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~.) I knew I would get the worst of the deal because I was absent when the goods were divided up. I'm sorry that you got the worst of it.
See also: of, worst

worst-case scenario

Cliché the worse possible future outcome. Now, let's look at the worst-case scenario. In the worst-case scenario, we're all dead.
See also: scenario

your own worst enemy

doing things yourself that prevent you from being liked or successful As a young player, Michael was his own worst enemy, arguing with the coach and other players and generally being unpleasant.
Usage notes: sometimes used in the form its own worst enemy, referring to something: The company has made a number of bad decisions that have made it its own worst enemy.
See also: enemy, worst

in the worst way

very much After a day in the hot sun, he needed a shower in the worst way.
See also: way, worst

at worst

also at the worst
in the least satisfactory conditions There's no harm in sending them your resume - you might get an interview, and at worst, they'll ignore it.
Opposite of: at best
See also: worst

fear the worst

to feel sure that what was least wanted has happened or will happen When the doctor called, she feared the worst.
See also: fear, worst

if worst comes to worst

if the least wanted situation develops If worst comes to worst, we can ask Dad to send us some more money.
See also: come, if, worst

the worst of both worlds

the least satisfactory parts of two different things By making his parents and his teachers angry with him, Jim seemed to have the worst of both worlds.
Opposite of: the best of both worlds
See also: both, of, world, worst

be your own worst enemy

if you are your own worst enemy, you do or believe things that prevent you from becoming successful Unless he learns to be more confident, he'll never get a decent job. He's his own worst enemy.
See also: enemy, worst

the nightmare/worst-case scenario

the worst thing that could possibly happen I suppose the worst-case scenario would be if both of us lost our jobs at the same time.
See also: scenario

I/You wouldn't wish something on my/your worst enemy.

something that you say in order to emphasize that something is extremely unpleasant The effects of this disease are horrible. You wouldn't wish them on your worst enemy.
See also: enemy, on, wish, worst

if the worst comes to the worst

  (British, American & Australian) also if worst comes to worst (American)
something that you say in order to tell someone what you will do if a situation becomes very difficult or serious If the worst comes to the worst, we'll have to give them our bed and sleep on the floor. If worst came to worst, could we sell the car to raise some extra cash?
See I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy
See also: come, if, worst

at worst

Also, at the worst.
1. In the least favorable circumstance; under the most difficult conditions. For example, Convicted of taking a bribe, the official believed that at worst he would be sentenced to a few months in prison . [1500s]
2. In the least favorable view or supposition, as in No harm done; at the worst I'll copy the tax return again. Chaucer used this sense in Troilus and Cressida: "For at the worst, it may yet short our way." [Late 1300s] For the antonym, see at best.
See also: worst

get the worst of it

Also, have the worst of it. Be defeated, experience a disadvantage, or suffer the most harm. For example, In any argument Joe usually gets the worst of it, or If we play the last three games as scheduled, our team is bound to have the worst of it , or The car got the worst of it, and no one was hurt. These phrases survive many older ones (such as go to the worst and come by the worst) in which worst is used in the sense of "defeat," a usage dating from about 1500. Also see get the better (best) of.
See also: get, of, worst

if worst comes to worst

Also, if worse comes to worst. In the least favorable situation, if the worst possible outcome occurs. For example, If worst comes to worst and the budget is not approved, the government will shut down, or Go ahead and go to school with a cold; if worse comes to worst the teacher will send you home . This expression is nearly always followed by a solution. [Late 1500s]
See also: come, if, worst

in the worst way

Desperately, very much, as in He wanted a new trumpet in the worst way. This usage replaced worst kind. [Colloquial; second half of 1800s]
See also: way, worst

worst-case scenario

n. the worst possible future outcome. Now, let’s look at the worst-case scenario.
See also: scenario

at (the) worst

Under the most negative circumstances, estimation, or interpretation: At worst, the storm will make us postpone the trip.
See also: worst

if (the) worst comes to (the) worst

If the very worst thing happens.
See also: come, if, worst

in the worst way

Informal
Very much; a great deal: wanted to be elected in the worst way.
See also: way, worst