baleful

adjective
bale·​ful | \ ˈbāl-fəl How to pronounce baleful (audio) \

Definition of baleful

1 : deadly or pernicious in influence baleful effects
2 : foreboding or threatening evil gave him a baleful look

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Other Words from baleful

balefully \ ˈbāl-​fə-​lē How to pronounce balefully (audio) \ adverb
balefulness \ ˈbāl-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce balefulness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for baleful

sinister, baleful, malign mean seriously threatening evil or disaster. sinister suggests a general or vague feeling of fear or apprehension on the part of the observer. a sinister aura haunts the place baleful imputes perniciousness or destructiveness to something whether working openly or covertly. exerting a corrupt and baleful influence malign applies to what is inherently evil or harmful. the malign effects of racism

Examples of baleful in a Sentence

the baleful effects of water pollution a dark, baleful sky portending a tornado
Recent Examples on the Web There's no room for a baleful Bozo when our most sane clown may be the dancing one killing children in Derry and our most insane clowns have formed a posse. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: The End of 'Baskets' and the Struggle of Loving Niche TV," 22 Aug. 2019 Deindustrialisation, baleful planning and white flight all hit hard from the 1960s onwards. The Economist, "How to fix Baltimore," 1 Aug. 2019 The festival’s entrance was marked by a sixty-foot-tall portrait of Attila himself, wielding an immense broadsword and standing in front of what was either a bonfire or a sky illuminated by the baleful glow of war. Jacob Mikanowski, Harper's magazine, "The Call of the Drums," 21 July 2019 But thanks to a little help from the world’s most famous playwright, no other single incident has doomed March 15th to its baleful reputation quite like Julius Caesar’s assassination. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "So, What Exactly Are the Ides of March?," 15 Mar. 2019 Unlike Ophelia, the patron saint of moribund allure, the women who cloak themselves in these baleful blooms will not be tragic characters. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "The 7 Biggest Trends of the Fall 2019 Season," 12 Mar. 2019 Some argue that the president’s impact on legislation is worth his baleful effect on the tone and temper of political discourse. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, "If Trump Were a Poet, He’d Be Rudyard Kipling," 26 Dec. 2018 The baleful equilibrium is punctuated, when control of the various branches aligns, by spurts of partisan lawmaking. The Economist, "America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats," 12 July 2018 Like several other baleful developments in U.S. public life, the potential misuse of the foreign agent registration law parallels developments in Russia. Evan Halper, latimes.com, "Is that environmental group a pawn of Beijing? Nonprofits wary of being branded 'foreign agents'," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'baleful.' 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 baleful

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of baleful was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Baleful.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/balefully. Accessed 5 December 2019.

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More Definitions for baleful

baleful

adjective
How to pronounce baleful (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of baleful

formal
: threatening harm or evil
: harmful or deadly

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More from Merriam-Webster on baleful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for baleful

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with baleful

Spanish Central: Translation of baleful

Nglish: Translation of baleful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of baleful for Arabic Speakers

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