I realize it’s been a long time between posts.  My life has been particularly busy this semester.  Anyway, thanks to all of you who have posted with encouragement and questions… I guess someone out there really is reading!

So, now that I’m back I’d like to answer a couple questions from Can Duman, who according to his blog appears to be from Turkey.

Can asked how Americans generally use the word “nasty”.  Here’s my answer and also some tips on finding how native speakers usually use words.

Here is the dictionary definition, but Can has also asked how Americans generally use it.

“Nasty” is often used to talk about a sickness or injury with the meaning of “severe” and/or “disgusting”

He has a nasty cold.

He fell and got a nasty cut.

“Nasty” can also be used to talk about the weather with the meaning of “severe”

It has been a nasty winter.

That was a nasty storm last night.

“Nasty” can also be used to describe communication between people with the meaning of “very rude”

That was a nasty thing to say.

Her neighbor left a nasty note on her door.

All of the meanings above are negative.

However, in the context of sports “nasty” is sometimes used as slang with the positive meaning of “very effective”, especially against an opponent.

The pitcher throws a nasty curveball.

The boxer was knocked out by a nasty punch.

I hope this helps for understanding common usage of this word.

In general, if you want to find out how a word is commonly used by native English speakers. I would suggest using Google News.  Search for the word that you are interested in and you will get a list of current news articles using that word in context.  Here is what I got when I searched for “nasty“.

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