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

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 evilly (audio) , British often and US sometimes  ˈē-​(ˌ)vi(l)-​ \ adverb
evilness \ ˈē-​vəl-​nəs How to pronounce evilness (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, "The science of Spectral: Is that really how Bose–Einstein condensate behaves?," 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, "'The Magic Flute' a surreal visual extravaganza," 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, "Discussion," 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, "Making magic with an animated 'Magic Flute'," 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, "Doctor Who review: Time tumbles out of control in The Doctor Falls," 3 July 2017 Well, not evil, really, but more bureaucratic, legalistic b.s. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Data Sheet—Friday, June 30, 2017," 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, "24 things for your San Diego summer-must list," 15 June 2017 Here, Goron is summoned by his king to fight evil forces threatening their kingdom. Redbook, "This Family Wins Birthdays With Their Game of Thrones Photo Shoot," 10 May 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For many of us, ramped up screen time from sheltering in place has become either a necessity or a necessary evil — and our skin may be feeling the negative effects of it. Nykia Spradley, Allure, "The Best Skin-Care Products to Protect Against Blue Light Damage," 27 Aug. 2020 Doling out jersey numbers is a necessary evil for Mullen and can be a major distraction for his players. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Gators newcomer Brenton Cox Jr. pushes to become pass-rushing force," 20 Aug. 2020 But in 2020, live tackling at practice will be a necessary evil ahead of Week 1. Amie Just | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Without preseason games, Saints to get creative with scrimmages that involve tackling," 20 Aug. 2020 Power-hungry and willing to do anything to be in control, the battle-axe is pure evil. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "The Backstory Of Nurse Ratched Attempts To Rework The Harmful Female Character Trope No One Talks About," 21 Sep. 2020 And Tricia Nixon, a reliable joke for those who appreciated the absurd evil of Watergate. Elizabeth Isadora Gold, Longreads, "Find Yourself," 1 Oct. 2020 It’s the fear of the loss of power that lets the evil in. John Dos Passos, National Review, "Reminiscences of a Middle-Class Radical," 28 Sep. 2020 The solution to the banality of evil is, for better or worse, the banality of good. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | MARY MCNAMARA: Harbinger of doom," 27 Sep. 2020 Jonathan Mattingly, sparked more controversy in the city — which has experienced more than four months of protests — with an email to fellow officers Tuesday morning that characterized police as defenders of order against forces of evil. Washington Post, "Louisville braces as decision looms in Breonna Taylor case," 22 Sep. 2020

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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Statistics for evil

Cite this Entry

“Evil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evil. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for evil

How to pronounce evil (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of evil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: morally bad
: causing harm or injury to someone
: marked by bad luck or bad events

evil

noun

English Language Learners Definition of evil (Entry 2 of 2)

: the force of things that are morally bad
: something that is harmful or bad
\ 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

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Comments on evil

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