I want to describe a little girl who behaves bad. she breaks everything, scares poor animals and can even make an ogre cry. Can I use the term 'nasty' when speak about her? About a child? (She is a nasty girl, She was the nastiest girl I ever saw.) Is 'nasty' equal to 'awful', 'terrible', 'horrid'? (I'm confused because of a song Destiny's Child - Nasty Girl.)

  • She sounds pretty nasty to me. The word has a number of connotations, but I think it's avoided being fatally sullied by association with excessively prurient connotations such that it can't be safely used to describe this little girl.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 3, 2016 at 17:28
  • 1
    Bear in mind that nasty is increasingly used as a sexually loaded term these days with the same connotations as wicked, filthy, dirty, kinky (often seen as desirable uninhibited sexual deviancy). Feb 3, 2016 at 17:35

3 Answers 3


Yes, though context can provide additional implications - whether you mean nasty to imply disgusting and lacking in cleanliness, or malicious and deliberately mean, or another variant. One of the other terms you suggest would sound more natural.

The Destiny's Child song carries complex implications about the woman's attitude to sex, using the other lines in the song, with overtones of her behaviour being disgusting and shameful.


If you google the meaning of this word, you will find its meaning like: - not kind, very bad or very angry or violent.

So, if you were going to describe a little girl as a nasty girl, you could say: - she has always been a nasty girl to her parents.

I hope you got it.



As @FumbleFingers commented, the word "nasty" is loaded with the same sexual connotations as "wicked," "filthy," "dirty," and "kinky" these days...

As an alternative, you might want to consider mean.

mean: cruel, spiteful, or malicious: a mean boy who liked to make fun of others. AHD

She was the meanest girl I ever saw.

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