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 Pedro Pascal’s bad guy seems to be based more than a little on a certain president. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Captain Comics: The stories behind ‘Wonder Woman 1984’," 2 Jan. 2021 The bad guy in this movie is an evil government employee enforcing public health laws, and the good guy is bravely trying to skirt those laws to see his new girlfriend. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "Can Disaster Movies Survive a Pandemic?," 25 Dec. 2020 Some fighters consider this strategy a bit like throwing your empty rifle at the bad guy, instead of reloading it. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, "Tomahawks Are Back: These American Relics Have Seen a Resurgence in Military and Survival Situations," 22 Dec. 2020 For the remaining states without mask mandates, and those having trouble with enforcement, having a national rule to be the theoretical bad guy will ease the pressure on local health officials. Kathleen Mclaughlin, STAT, "Mask defiance remains strong in Big Sky Country, even as the pandemic rages," 27 Nov. 2020 His humane moments are few, but Waterman finds them and develops a complex individual rather than hackneyed bad guy. David James, Anchorage Daily News, "Grim fate of the Greely expedition is brought to life in work of historical fiction ‘Starvation Shore’," 20 Dec. 2020 Kim Dickens plays the police chief, Alan Cumming is a bad guy. Los Angeles Times, "The 10 best TV shows of 2020," 7 Dec. 2020 In 2011 there was a new bad guy in cyberspace behind the website Silk Road. CBS News, "Inside the FBI takedown of the mastermind behind website offering drugs, guns and murders for hire," 10 Nov. 2020 No spoilers, but David Duchovny is the bad guy who, in the film, does Men’s Rights advocacy work. Washington Post, "Why ‘The Craft: Legacy’ director decided to make a witch movie for woke teens," 5 Nov. 2020

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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The first known use of bad guy was in 1914

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Statistics for bad guy

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bad guy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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