bad guy

noun

1
informal : the villain in a story : baddie
played the bad guy in the movie
2
informal : 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 Every year since, Child has dropped a new Reacher mystery that finds the brooding introvert roaming the country and pitching in to investigate mysterious situations, usually pummeling bad guys along the way. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Apr. 2024 Garland is purposefully keeping exposition to a minimum, lest folks immediately get hung up on partisan details and easy, binary versions of good guys and bad guys. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 15 Mar. 2024 During that same fight, shapeshifter Morph transforms into the bulbous bad guy Blob to bounce Wolverine onto a Sentinel from his trampoline-like belly. Jordan Moreau, Variety, 14 Mar. 2024 The one quote aside, Lowe doesn’t become the sort of obliviously verbose bad guy that viewers have come to expect from the wave of tech bubble scam documentaries that perhaps started with Alex Gibney’s Enron doc, but began to peak and plateau with the Fyre Festival double dose in 2019. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Mar. 2024 Presumably, bad guys will create deepfakes, which could spread misinformation or be used as an interpersonal weapon. Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker, 16 Feb. 2024 Lewis once led a crew dubbed the Ghost Killers that robbed bad guys and dispensed lethal justice. Journal Sentinel, 31 Jan. 2024 That’s evident early on, when his character, Chief, single-handedly dispatches a group of bad guys who make the mistake of harassing a Native American in a saloon. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 Feb. 2024 The trailer features a truly wild collection of bad guys, the most notable of which is a giant fire…thing, that appears to be a giant sentient brazier. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bad guy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1914, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bad guy was in 1914

Dictionary Entries Near bad guy

Cite this Entry

“Bad guy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bad%20guy. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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