bad guy

noun

Definition of bad guy 

informal

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

But once October 31st comes around, Allison learns who the real bad guys are. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Halloween Is More Than a Horror Movie—It's a Tribute to Mothers and Daughters," 20 Oct. 2018 In the last 18 months, his Wolverine has slashed the bad guys to ribbons in that series’s final installment, Logan, and his singing P.T. Barnum, has headlined the wholly unexpected musical hit The Greatest Showman. John Powers, Vogue, "5 Great Things From the Opening of the Toronto Film Festival," 8 Sep. 2018 Even catching and unmasking a bad guy like Electro would feel anti-climactic at times—which was a core tension for Ditko’s Spider-Man that helped him stand out and become one of Marvel’s top-selling heroes shortly after his 1962 launch. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Steve Ditko’s Ordinary People," 10 July 2018 Accompanying adults are welcome to take in the passing views of the Hilton Head coast, that is, if they're not enthralled with the firing of water cannons and the fending off of bad guys. Paul Oswell, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Best Day Trips from Charleston," 27 Apr. 2018 As anyone who has sat through a recent summer superhero tentpole can attest, there is a lot of violence to catalogue—on the order of 23 acts per hour for the good guys, with just 18 violent acts per hour for the bad guys. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Forget movie villains—it’s the “good” superheroes that are the most violent," 9 Nov. 2018 The only way to protect innocent people from bad guys with guns is to have good guys with guns. The Voorhes, Glamour, "I'm a Woman in a Battleground State. Here's What Politicians Don't Understand About Me.," 21 Aug. 2018 One effort that may be working — or at least creating hurdles for potential bad guys — is Facebook’s updates around election advertising. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Facebook has a plan to protect the U.S. midterms. Is it enough?," 17 Aug. 2018 If Russia’s support for Ukrainian rebels is no longer worrisome, as Mr. Trump suggested to the Group of 7, and Mr. Putin isn’t such a bad guy, why do NATO countries need to spend all that money on defense? WSJ, "Trump Is Sending Mixed Signals Going Into Helsinki," 12 July 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

17 Dec 2018

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The first known use of bad guy was in 1914

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