at 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 worst

1. In the worst possible scenario. In this usage, "the" can be used between "at" and "worst." At the worst, Doug will be an hour late. They're selling some nice stuff at the yard sale, so I think they'll make a few hundred bucks at worst.
2. In one's least positive, effective, or successful state. In this usage, a pronoun is used between "at" and "worst." I'm at my worst when I'm tired. The team is at their worst when they're not working together.
See also: 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

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

at (the) worst

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