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

diabolical

play
adjective di·a·bol·i·cal \ˌdī-ə-ˈbä-li-kəl\

Simple Definition of diabolical

  • : extremely evil

  • : very unpleasant, bad, or annoying

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of diabolical

  1. :  of, relating to, or characteristic of the devil :  devilish <a diabolical plot>

diabolically

play \-li-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

diabolicalness

play \-li-kəl-nəs\ noun

Examples of diabolical in a sentence

  1. <the police quickly mobilized to track down the diabolical serial killer>



Did You Know?

Like the word devil, "diabolical" traces back to Latin diabolus, which itself descends from Greek diabolos, a word that literally means "slanderer." In English, "diabolical" has many nuances of meaning. It can describe the devil himself (as in "my diabolical visitor") or anything related to or characteristic of him in appearance, behavior, or thought; examples include "diabolical lore," "a diabolical grin," and "a diabolical plot." In British slang, "diabolical" can also mean "disgraceful" or "bad," as in "the food was diabolical."

Variants of diabolical

or

diabolic

play \-ˈbä-lik\

Origin and Etymology of diabolical

Middle English deabolik, from Middle French diabolique, from Late Latin diabolicus, from diabolus


First Known Use: 14th century


DIABOLICAL Defined for Kids

diabolical

play
adjective di·a·bol·i·cal \ˌdī-ə-ˈbä-li-kəl\

Definition of diabolical for Students

  1. :  devilish 1



Variants of diabolical

or

diabolic

\-ˈbä-lik\

Learn More about diabolical


Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

mysterious, holy, or spiritual

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

lavender-fields-in-france

Which of these is a synonym of caesura?

rebellion torrent megillah interruption
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ