bad guy


Definition of bad guy 


1 : the villain in a story : baddie played the bad guy in the movie

2 : someone who is likened to the villain in a story: such as

a : a criminal Designed to keep guns out of the hands of bad guys and children …Popular Science

b : a military enemy … a decision that owes more to parochial conflicts within the Armed Forces than to doing the best job of surveilling bad guys.— Stuart F. Brown

c : someone who deserves to be blamed or criticized for causing a bad situation Meanwhile, it's the environmentalists who are now portrayed as the bad guys, hiring lots of lawyers, consorting with congressmen …— Eric Alterman

d : a person who treats other people harshly or strictly : a person who says or does unpopular things Parenting isn't just about having beautiful kids and being busy. It's about dealing with problems, and your success as a parent depends on your willingness to be the bad guy. If you aren't willing to be the bad guy, you shouldn't be a parent.— Roy Bragg

Examples of bad guy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The purpose of this law is to protect the campus if a bad guy comes with a gun. Scott Travis,, "Most applying to be Broward armed guardians fail to meet qualifications," 13 July 2018 For several decades in the American film industry during the 20th century, a production code made sure that the bad guys couldn’t win and that bad things couldn’t be shown. Washington Post, "A Thai cave, an extraordinary tale and a captivated world," 12 July 2018 Each chapter follows a familiar pattern: you venture to a town, learn about something going on, and then head over to a dungeon to defeat the bad guy. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Octopath Traveler is a modern take on classic Final Fantasy on the Nintendo Switch," 12 July 2018 The bad guys take Will’s daughter, Georgia (McKenna Roberts), hostage and to get her back, Will needs to open the 10-inch titanium doors of The Pearl’s panic room on the 220th floor. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "'Skyscraper': 5 totally preposterous moments where Dwayne Johnson has to save the day," 11 July 2018 Things go sour, of course — when everyone's at least partially a bad guy, things are going to get ugly. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Sicario: Day of the Soldado' lacks ambition of the original," 28 June 2018 Sometimes people get hurt and sometimes the bad guy doesn't get caught. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'We're going to chase you': After officer's death, Milwaukee officials spread the word about pursuit policy," 25 June 2018 Suffice to say there are much bigger bad guys out there than the people in her mentions. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Ivanka Trump’s Sage Advice for the Internet? “Ignore the Trolls”," 29 May 2018 Today, Monsegur is the director of assessment services at Rhino, which deploys white hat hackers (the good guys) to test a client’s network before the black hats (the bad guys) get in and wreak havoc. Aki Ito,, "A Former Anonymous Hacker’s Search for Redemption," 6 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bad guy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bad guy

1914, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

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The first known use of bad guy was in 1914

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