What does the phrase: "she sucks badly at it" mean?

My hypotheses are:

  1. She doesn't like it
  2. She is bad at doing it

It is a passage from the Emily Giffin's book "Where We Belong".

If you need more context here it is:

"My dad typically picks up the story from there, telling me how he cut himself shaving, his hands shaking so much that he almost let my mother drive to the hospital, something he never does because she sucks so badly at it. Then he skips ahead to the papers they hurriedly signed, and the moment the lady from the agency returned with a baby—me—swaddled in a pink fleece blanket."

  • 2
    No - it can't mean "she doesn't like it.". That would be "She thinks it sucks."
    – Adam
    Jun 27, 2017 at 14:45
  • 1
    @Ruslan Mukhanov: You should probably forget you ever came across this slang usage of to suck. Because it's pretty downmarket slang, some people will think badly of you for using it whether you get the syntax right or not, but (also because it's slangy, and relatively new) the precise definition of "syntactically valid usage" won't be unanimously agreed by all native speakers anyway. Personally, I wouldn't accept He sucks badly at golf, for example, but quite possibly it's okay to others. Jun 27, 2017 at 14:50
  • 2
    It's not new. I've been using it for 30 years. It does still offend some, mostly older and prudish people.
    – Rob K
    Jun 27, 2017 at 15:04
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    @Fumblefingers - I think this usage of sucks may be more common in America - I hear it all the time from people of all ages. For instance at work, I wouldn't expect to hear it used in a presentation for people outside my company, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear it at an internal presentation.
    – Adam
    Jun 27, 2017 at 15:09
  • 3
    @RuslanM: A good way to avoid being asked "Did you look this up in the dictionary?" is to tell us that you've looked it up in the dictionary. If you don't tell us, some will wonder if you are confused, or just lazy. If you do tell us, it will be a lot easier for us to understand why you are confused. For more info, check out the "Show your research" part of our Details, Please meta question. (That all said, I'm glad you provided the passage from the book; that helps, too.)
    – J.R.
    Jun 27, 2017 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


OP's option 2 is correct. idiomeaning.com defines it as:

to be terrible at something

In this instance, their definition is correct.


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