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sinister

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adjective sin·is·ter \ˈsi-nəs-tər, archaic sə-ˈnis-\

Simple Definition of sinister

  • : having an evil appearance : looking likely to cause something bad, harmful, or dangerous to happen

Full Definition of sinister

  1. 1 archaic :  unfavorable, unlucky

  2. 2 archaic :  fraudulent

  3. 3 :  singularly evil or productive of evil

  4. 4a :  of, relating to, or situated to the left or on the left side of something; especially :  being or relating to the side of a heraldic shield at the left of the person bearing itb :  of ill omen by reason of being on the left

  5. 5 :  presaging ill fortune or trouble

  6. 6 :  accompanied by or leading to disaster

sin·is·ter·ly adverb
sin·is·ter·ness noun

Examples of sinister

  1. There was something sinister about him.

  2. <the movie relies too much on sinister background music to create the suspense that the plot sorely lacks>



Origin of sinister

Middle English sinistre, from Anglo-French senestre on the left, from Latin sinistr-, sinister on the left side, unlucky, inauspicious


First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of sinister

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>.


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