evil

adjective
\ ˈē-vəl How to pronounce evil (audio) , British often and US sometimes ˈē-(ˌ)vil \
eviler or eviller; evilest or evillest

Essential Meaning of evil

1 : morally bad an evil villain evil spirits evil deeds
2 : causing harm or injury to someone She drank an evil potion.
3 : marked by bad luck or bad events The city has fallen on evil days/times.

Full Definition of evil

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : morally reprehensible : sinful, wicked an evil impulse
b : arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct a person of evil reputation
2a archaic : inferior
b : causing discomfort or repulsion : offensive an evil odor
c : disagreeable woke late and in an evil temper
3a : causing harm : pernicious the evil institution of slavery
b : marked by misfortune : unlucky

evil

noun

Definition of evil (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : the fact of suffering, misfortune, and wrongdoing
b : a cosmic evil force
2 : something that brings sorrow, distress, or calamity

evil

adverb

Definition of evil (Entry 3 of 3)

archaic
: in an evil manner

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Other Words from evil

Adjective

evilly \ ˈē-​və(l)-​lē How to pronounce evil (audio) , British often and US sometimes  ˈē-​(ˌ)vi(l)-​ \ adverb
evilness \ ˈē-​vəl-​nəs How to pronounce evil (audio) , British often and US sometimes  ˈē-​(ˌ)vil-​ \ noun

Examples of evil in a Sentence

Adjective She drank an evil potion. The city has fallen on evil days. It was an evil omen. Noun the battle of good versus evil our free will allows us to choose between good and evil
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But remember: Bose–Einstein condensates are not evil. Thilo Stöferle, Ars Technica, 18 July 2017 John Robert Lindsey made a properly evil Monostatos (a dead ringer for the vampire Nosferatu), accompanied by terrifying dogs rather than slaves. Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati.com, 16 July 2017 The Nazis and the Holocaust truly show the entire scope of humanity, at its most evil and its most resilient. The Editors, Smithsonian, 2 May 2017 Pamina has the short bob hairdo of flapper-era star Louise Brooks, the birdcatcher is a Buster Keaton-style Papageno and the evil Monostatos reminds of Nosferatu. Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati.com, 6 July 2017 The Master's return isn't blockbuster enough for me, even with the good versus evil Superman III undertones in his cheeky exchanges with Missy. Kelly Fiveash, Ars Technica, 3 July 2017 Well, not evil, really, but more bureaucratic, legalistic b.s. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, 30 June 2017 The show unites Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones) to battle the Hand, a band of evil mystical ninjas. Pacific, Pacific San Diego Magazine, 15 June 2017 Here, Goron is summoned by his king to fight evil forces threatening their kingdom. Redbook, 10 May 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Is this a psychological tale of jealousy or a metaphysical study of human evil? Los Angeles Times, 20 Oct. 2021 Through the deliberately standard-issue story of an amateur criminal (Michael Fassbender) trying to arrange a $20 million drug shipment from a Ciudad Juárez cartel, McCarthy stares into the abyss of human evil and the abyss stares back, pitilessly. Scott Tobias, Vulture, 15 Oct. 2021 So another argument that Frances has made that raised a lot of eyebrows, is that a platform like Facebook should just go back to reverse chronological ranking, because the engagement based ranking algorithm is the root of all evil. Wired Staff, Wired, 15 Oct. 2021 Yes, the Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 1 Oct. 2021 His participation in this evil clearly swamps his achievements in your mind. New York Times, 28 Sep. 2021 Since the late fifties, TV has had a special role, both as the country’s dominant medium, in audience and influence, and as a bête noire for a certain strain of American intellectuals, who view it as the root of all evil. Chris Hayes, The New Yorker, 24 Sep. 2021 Even the most gregarious industry leaders often cringe at the thought of the necessary evil that is networking. Vitaly Alexandrov, Forbes, 17 Sep. 2021 Without a doubt, the situation in Afghanistan is distinct from the Holocaust in scope, brutality, and the depths of its evil. Mark Jacobson, Time, 10 Sep. 2021

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

Adjective

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

Noun

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

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for evil

Adjective

Middle English, from Old English yfel; akin to Old High German ubil evil

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Time Traveler for evil

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near evil

evidentness

evil

evildoer

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Statistics for evil

Cite this Entry

“Evil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evil. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for evil

evil

adjective
\ ˈē-vəl How to pronounce evil (audio) \

Kids Definition of evil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : morally bad : wicked an evil influence
2 : causing harm : tending to injure an evil spell

evil

noun

Kids Definition of evil (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that brings sorrow, trouble, or destruction the evils of poverty
2 : the fact of suffering or wrongdoing We must rid the world of evil.
3 : bad behavior or moral state : wickedness … Mr. Lapham had discovered the evil that had gone on in his absence …— Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain

More from Merriam-Webster on evil

Nglish: Translation of evil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of evil for Arabic Speakers

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