Simple Definition of malevolent
: having or showing a desire to cause harm to another person
Examples of malevolent in a sentence
There was no acknowledgment of the effects of cycle upon cycle of malevolent defeat, of the injury of seeing one generation rise above the cusp of poverty only to be indignantly crushed, of the impact of repeating tsunamis of violence … —Douglas A. Blackmon, Slavery By Another Name, 2008
The sky looks heavy enough to sink and crush us when we see another twister bullying across the fields—a squat, malevolent-looking wedge. —Priit J. Vesilind, National Geographic, April 2004
No bigger than most house cats, it is possessed of such formidable armor and malevolent mien that when the makers of the latest Godzilla epic went looking for a prototype, they selected this lizard … —Peter Benchley, National Geographic, April 1999
The predominant spirit is very un-American; a kind of malevolent, drifting determinism pervades human beings who cannot, or do not want to, cope. —John Fowles, Atlantic, August 1986
<the novel grossly oversimplified the conflict as a struggle between relentlessly malevolent villains on one side and faultless saints on the other>
On the Origin of malevolent
That malevolent begins with male- does not imply any connection with gender. The word's initial component comes ultimately from the Latin adverb male "badly"; English male "a man or a boy," by contrast, descends from the unrelated Latin noun masculus "male." Malevolent was taken into English directly from the Latin malevolens "ill-disposed, spiteful," which paired male with volens, the present participle of a verb meaning "to wish." In Latin, the combination literally meant "wishing ill." The "wishing" component of malevolent may also be found in its antonym benevolent "kind and generous" (from Latin benevolens, literally, "wishing well") and in a rare English word, somnivolency ("a sleep-inducing agent"), in which it is yoked with somni- "sleep" (from Latin somnus) in a compound literally meaning "inclination to sleep."
MALEVOLENT Defined for Kids
Definition of malevolent for Students
: having or showing a desire to cause harm to another person <Christy and Megan … were whispering over on the other side of the room and casting malevolent looks in Mary Lou's direction. — Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons>
Seen and Heard
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