diabolical

play
adjective di·a·bol·i·cal \ˌdī-ə-ˈbä-li-kəl\
variants: or

diabolic

play \-ˈbä-lik\

Definition of diabolical

  1. :  of, relating to, or characteristic of the devil :  devilish a diabolical plot

diabolically

play \-li-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

diabolicalness

play \-li-kəl-nəs\ noun

diabolical was our Word of the Day on 10/19/2009. Hear the podcast!

Examples of diabolical in a sentence

  1. the police quickly mobilized to track down the diabolical serial killer

Did You Know?

Like the word devil, "diabolical" traces back to Latin diabolus, which itself descends from Greek diabolos, a word that literally means "slanderer." In English, "diabolical" has many nuances of meaning. It can describe the devil himself (as in "my diabolical visitor") or anything related to or characteristic of him in appearance, behavior, or thought; examples include "diabolical lore," "a diabolical grin," and "a diabolical plot." In British slang, "diabolical" can also mean "disgraceful" or "bad," as in "the food was diabolical."

Origin and Etymology of diabolical

Middle English deabolik, from Middle French diabolique, from Late Latin diabolicus, from diabolus —see 1devil


First Known Use: 15th century


DIABOLICAL Defined for English Language Learners

diabolical

play
adjective di·a·bol·i·cal \ˌdī-ə-ˈbä-li-kəl\

Definition of diabolical for English Language Learners

  • : extremely evil

  • : very unpleasant, bad, or annoying


DIABOLICAL Defined for Kids

diabolical

play
adjective di·a·bol·i·cal \ˌdī-ə-ˈbä-li-kəl\
variants: or

diabolic

\-ˈbä-lik\

Definition of diabolical for Students

  1. :  devilish 1


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WORD OF THE DAY

to cast off or become cast off

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