evil

1 of 3

adjective

ˈē-vəl How to pronounce evil (audio)
 British often and US sometimes  ˈē-(ˌ)vil
eviler or eviller; evilest or evillest
1
a
: morally reprehensible : sinful, wicked
an evil impulse
b
: arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct
a person of evil reputation
2
a
archaic : inferior
b
: causing discomfort or repulsion : offensive
an evil odor
c
: disagreeable
woke late and in an evil temper
3
a
: causing harm : pernicious
the evil institution of slavery
b
: marked by misfortune : unlucky
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

evil

2 of 3

noun

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

evil

3 of 3

adverb

archaic
: in an evil manner

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
The original Gladiator movie, which was released in 2000, told the story of Crowe's Maximus, a Roman general who was the victim of a coup by the evil emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix). Becca Longmire, Peoplemag, 12 June 2024 The scientists and managers who made decisions decades ago to manufacture products containing these chemicals were not evil people blithely ready to hurt others for a few fast bucks. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, 9 June 2024
Noun
In confronting the banality of evil with his Klansmen of the ’60s and ’70s, perhaps Guston was excavating his own past in search of the raw American political unconscious. Walker Mimms, New York Times, 4 June 2024 Andor updates the Empire from a vague and cartoonishly evil dictatorship to a mundane evil, one that is so oppressive in everyday life, in casual cruelty that rebellion becomes not a choice, but a necessity. Rafael Motamayor, Vulture, 4 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for evil 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'evil.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near evil

Cite this Entry

“Evil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evil. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

evil

1 of 2 adjective
eviler or eviller; evilest or evillest
1
: morally bad : wicked
2
a
: causing harm : tending to injure
b
: marked by misfortune
evil days
evilly adverb

evil

2 of 2 noun
1
: something that brings sorrow, trouble, or destruction
2
: the fact of suffering or wrongdoing

More from Merriam-Webster on evil

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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