diabolical

adjective
di·​a·​bol·​i·​cal | \ ˌdī-ə-ˈbä-li-kəl How to pronounce diabolical (audio) \
variants: or diabolic \ ˌdī-​ə-​ˈbä-​lik How to pronounce diabolic (audio) \

Definition of diabolical

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

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Other Words from diabolical

diabolically \ ˌdī-​ə-​ˈbä-​li-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce diabolically (audio) \ adverb
diabolicalness \ ˌdī-​ə-​ˈbä-​li-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce diabolicalness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for diabolical

Synonyms

cacodemonic, demoniac (also demoniacal), demonian, demonic (also demonical), devilish, fiendish, Luciferian, satanic

Antonyms

angelic (or angelical)

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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."

Examples of diabolical in a Sentence

the police quickly mobilized to track down the diabolical serial killer

Recent Examples on the Web

The tech future we were promised was finally here: instant, real-time video conversations, just like the diabolical villains in every science fiction movie ever. Jason Gay, WSJ, "My Kids Are Lousy at Video Chat, But They Love to Hang Up on Me," 20 July 2018 As a local magistrate and civic leader, Corwin was called upon to investigate the claims of diabolical activity when a surge of witchcraft accusations arose in Salem and neighboring communities. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "You Can Now Live In A Replica Of The Salem Witch House," 31 Oct. 2018 In large part, the carnage was the diabolical work of the book’s villain: Rear Adm. Sanji Iwabuchi, who commanded 17,000 marines and soldiers in charge of destroying Manila’s harbor and bridges before evacuating. Jonathan W. Jordan, WSJ, "‘Rampage’ Review: MacArthur’s Bloody Promise," 25 Oct. 2018 This process never ends, as the diabolical nonlinear term keeps generating higher-order correlations. Lee Phillips, Ars Technica, "Turbulence, the oldest unsolved problem in physics," 10 Oct. 2018 Anselmo rises above the din with croaking, diabolical vocals. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Vinnie Paul, hard-hitting drummer for heavy metal band Pantera, dies at 54," 23 June 2018 USA TODAY Sports There is no horse for the diabolical Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. Steve Dimeglio, USA TODAY, "Players Championship: Here's our pick to win PGA Tour's flagship event," 9 May 2018 Grand dames like Merion, Pinehurst and Shinny were born with penal rough, tricky routes and, most significantly, diabolical greens. Marcus Hayes, Philly.com, "Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth collapse at U.S. Open," 14 June 2018 The final expression on her hooded face is diabolical and unreadable. Rena Gross, Billboard, "'The Handmaid's Tale': Season 2, Episode 13 Recap: 19 Startling Moments in 'The Word'," 11 July 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for diabolical

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

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Dictionary Entries near diabolical

diablotin

diabol-

diaboleite

diabolical

diabolism

diabolize

diabolo

Statistics for diabolical

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for diabolical

The first known use of diabolical was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for diabolical

diabolical

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of diabolical

: extremely evil
British, informal : very unpleasant, bad, or annoying

diabolical

adjective
di·​a·​bol·​i·​cal | \ ˌdī-ə-ˈbä-li-kəl How to pronounce diabolical (audio) \
variants: or diabolic \ -​ˈbä-​lik \

Kids Definition of diabolical

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not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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