Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

baleful

play
adjective bale·ful \-fəl\

Simple Definition of baleful

  • : threatening harm or evil

  • : harmful or deadly

Full Definition of baleful

  1. 1 :  deadly or pernicious in influence <baleful effects>

  2. 2 :  foreboding or threatening evil <a baleful look>

bale·ful·ly play \-fə-lē\ adverb
bale·ful·ness play \-fəl-nəs\ noun

Examples of baleful

  1. the baleful effects of water pollution

  2. <a dark, baleful sky portending a tornado>



Before 12th Century

First Known Use of baleful

before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of baleful

sinister, baleful, malign mean seriously threatening evil or disaster. sinister suggests a general or vague feeling of fear or apprehension on the part of the observer <a sinister aura haunts the place>. baleful imputes perniciousness or destructiveness to something whether working openly or covertly <exerting a corrupt and baleful influence>. malign applies to what is inherently evil or harmful <the malign effects of racism>.

Rhymes with baleful



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up baleful? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 7, 2016

a slight offense

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

spindrift kittly-benders duvet pince-nez
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ