bad guy

noun
|Updated on: 18 Jun 2018

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

Recent Examples of bad guy from the Web

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.

First Known Use of bad guy

1914

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
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