bad guy


Definition of bad guy

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 Thankfully, Bel-Air readily provides a multi-layered insight into its bad guy’s origins. Ineye Komonibo,, 28 Feb. 2022 Road to Perdition got a lot of press at the time for the fact that, hey, look, Hanks is playing a bad guy. Tim Grierson, Vulture, 8 Nov. 2021 Bond at a high-stakes card table, facing down a bad guy like Le Chiffre, pausing only to dispatch of some terrorists in a stairwell? David Fear, Rolling Stone, 8 Oct. 2021 Now all of a sudden Loki is the one joining a superteam to fight a bigger bad guy. Washington Post, 8 June 2021 As if fighting a Kryptonite-wielding bad guy wasn't enough, Clark also had his hands full on the family front. Chancellor Agard,, 24 Feb. 2021 Neeson, for one thing, isn’t really the good guy here, or really even the bad guy with a heart of gold. Washington Post, 27 Apr. 2022 Lady Justice rebalances her scales and reaches across the decades to tap a bad guy on the shoulder. San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Feb. 2022 The main thing is this: There doesn’t have to be a bad guy and a good guy here. oregonlive, 30 Sep. 2021 See More

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

Learn More About bad guy

Time Traveler for bad guy

Time Traveler

The first known use of bad guy was in 1914

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near bad guy

bad/good speller

bad guy

bad hair day

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for bad guy

Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bad guy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!