In the dictionary, bad (comparative badder, superlative baddest) (especially North American English, slang) good; excellent

Say, your friend has just made a very beautiful dress. And when you look at it, can you say "you're bad" which means "you're good" in American English?

Does "he is badder than me" mean "he is better than me" in Ame English?

Some people say we have to say "he is badder than I". I am wondering why not "he is badder than I am"

  • There's nothing wrong with He is better than I am. Strictly speaking, He is better than me is incorrect, but it is very frequently used in casual speech. Jan 17, 2023 at 9:15

1 Answer 1



There is (or was) use in some African American dialects, and particularly in relation to a musical or other performance. The OED gives this example:

Bad as the best and as cool as they come, Smokey is remarkably low key for a soul master.

and has earlier citations:

[Duke] Ellington’s jazzique is just too bad.

And there was, of course, Michael Jackson's album Bad.

But the main meaning of "bad" = "not good" remains the main meaning. If an African American speaker uses the slang meaning they might be understood in context. If a non-native speaker uses the slang meaning, there would just be confusion. So don't add this to your productive vocabulary.

  • Similarly gnarly, nasty, sick etc. Don't use these words unless in conversation with a teenager - but in conversation with a teenager again don't use them, because they will have stopped using them last week & now you look to be even older & more out of touch than before you started speaking ;) Jan 17, 2023 at 7:52

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