\ 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 In a movie about the evils of cash, his name is, literally, Ransom—go figure. Estelle Tang, Vogue, "On the Perfect Casting of Knives Out," 4 Dec. 2019 For nearly three decades, from 1961 to 1989, much of the Western world viewed the Berlin Wall as a symbol for the evils of Communism. Time, "The Berlin Wall Is a Reminder That Barriers Last Only As Long as the Political Will to Defend Them," 8 Nov. 2019 If Amazon is the new corporate evil, Walmart is the old one. Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz, "How to shop without Amazon," 21 Dec. 2019 For his part, Kylo, the son of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher, digitally resurrected since her 2016 death), is also torn between good and evil. Author: Michael O'sullivan, Anchorage Daily News, "Review: ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ may give Star Wars fans what they want, but not what the story needs," 18 Dec. 2019 Kuang, a journalist, and Fabricant, a designer, demonstrate the power of design—for good and evil—in everything from autos and airplanes to nuclear power plants and mobile apps. Fortune Editors, Fortune, "Fortune Writers and Editors Recommend Their Favorite Books of 2019," 8 Dec. 2019 The variety-show format was a necessary evil in the days of limited choice. The Economist, "Can the Christmas variety and music show adapt to the 21st century?," 29 Nov. 2019 Yet unless McEwan really means to suggest that his countrymen on the Brexiting right are evil, the gesture simply lacks analogical power. Graham Hillard, National Review, "Ian McEwan Doesn’t Get Brexit," 24 Oct. 2019 Visiting the dentist is one of life’s necessary evils. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "This Jane Austen Letter Highlights the Horrors of 19th-Century Dentistry," 19 Oct. 2019

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.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evilly. Accessed 24 January 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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More from Merriam-Webster on evil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for evil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with evil

Spanish Central: Translation of evil

Nglish: Translation of evil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of evil for Arabic Speakers

Comments on evil

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