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

Election officials want to use social media to educate voters—and want the bad guys to stay off it. Alexa Corse, WSJ, "The Cyberthreats That Most Worry Election Officials," 18 Sep. 2018 The plot twist comes in real life: Pinkerton still exists today as Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations Inc., a specialist in corporate security and risk management—and it’s tired of being the bad guy. Sarah E. Needleman, WSJ, "Pinkerton Detectives Still Exist, and They’re Tired of Being the Bad Guys," 21 Jan. 2019 In other words, reduce everything to a binary question of believers vs. deniers, good guys vs. bad guys. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Press Is the Enemy of Climate," 4 Dec. 2018 This metaphor suggests that the sides are of equal power: the good guys and the bad guys are fighting neck and neck, with the lead swinging back and forth depending on the day. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Stop calling Facebook’s effort to fix itself an “arms race”," 14 Sep. 2018 With Tony Soprano in 1999, an era began in which viewers embraced thorny leading characters, defying the common network belief that viewers could only handle extremely bad guys and extremely good guys. Matthew Gilbert,, "The best villains on TV," 6 July 2018 But that doesn’t mean that players are bad guys or there is anything sinister going on. Gary Bedore, kansascity, "Q&A with Jay Bilas on FBI's college basketball case: 'The problem is the NCAA’s rules' | The Kansas City Star," 18 Apr. 2018 Courtney: The media celebrates the murderer, not the victims, by showering the public with the bad guy’s image. Courtney Lund O’neil, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Serial Killer, a Receipt, and My Mom: Haunted by the Murder of 33 Boys," 31 Oct. 2018 Just as Shakir's Bushmaster begins to find his bad guy groove, Woodward's Black Mariah comes in and steals the show. David Betancourt,, "Netflix's 'Luke Cage' Season 2 is black and beautiful, bolder and better," 15 June 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

9 Apr 2019

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The first known use of bad guy was in 1914

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likely to have or produce good results

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