That’s an awful colour; ‘They didn’t even offer to pay.’ ‘Oh that's awful.’; It's awful, isn’t it?; The weather last summer was awful; I feel awful about forgetting her birthday; to look/feel awful (= to look/feel ill); There's an awful smell in here; The awful thing is, it was my fault.
These words all describe something that is very unpleasant.
terrible very bad or unpleasant; making you feel unhappy, frightened, upset, ill, guilty or disapproving: What terrible news!; That's a terrible thing to say! awful (rather informal) very bad or unpleasant; used to describe something that you do not like or that makes you feel depressed, ill, guilty or disapproving: That's an awful colour; The weather last summer was awful. horrible (rather informal) very unpleasant; used to describe something that you do not like: The coffee tasted horrible. dreadful (rather informal, especially British English) very bad or unpleasant; used to describe something that you do not like or that you disapprove of: What dreadful weather! vile (informal) extremely bad or unpleasant: There was a vile smell coming from the room; He was in a vile mood. foul (informal especially British English) extremely bad or unpleasant: This tastes foul.
VILE OR FOUL? Both these words can be used in informal language to describe the weather, things that affect the senses, and people being in a bad mood. Foul is used to describe things that are dirty, smell bad, and may carry disease.
PATTERNS AND COLLOCATIONS • terrible/awful/horrible/dreadful for somebody • to be/sound terrible/awful/horrible/dreadful/vile/foul • to look/smell/taste terrible/awful/horrible/dreadful/vile/foul • a(n) terrible/awful/horrible/dreadful/vile/foul thing • a(n) terrible/awful/horrible/dreadful/vile/foul smell/ taste/mood • terrible/awful/horrible/dreadful/vile/foul weather/ conditions • terrible/awful/horrible/dreadful news • really/absolutely/pretty/rather terrible/awful/ horrible/dreadful/vile/foul