evil

adjective
\ 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 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, "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 When a new professor’s bureaucratic methods leave Hogwarts unprepared to fight the rising tide of evil, Harry teaches a dedicated group of students how to defend against the dark arts. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: James Dean in ‘Giant’ on TCM and more," 2 Apr. 2021 The nature of evil, whether radical or banal, still perplexes us. James Robins, The New Republic, "Can Historians Be Traumatized by History?," 16 Feb. 2021 In early 2002, Bush put the country on the axis of evil. Lawrence Korb, National Review, "The Real Reasons the U.S. Can’t Win Wars Anymore," 21 Mar. 2021 Larry Fessenden’s Prophet of Doom is also consistently menacing and often otherworldly, a villain that truly feels like the global-threat level of evil that makes a story like this work. Jeff Ewing, Forbes, "SXSW 2021: ‘The Spine Of Night’ Boasts Impressive Fantasy-Horror Worldbuilding And A Novel Story," 20 Mar. 2021 Abbott — a strong, sensitive actor, great on Girls, and even better in Jerrod Carmichael’s upcoming On the Count of Three — lacks the banal, domesticated twinge of evil, the unaffected prowl of a natural bully that the role seems to call for. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, "Women in Love: ‘The World to Come’ Is Filled With the Wild Excitement of Romance," 7 Mar. 2021 The Cimmerian warrior slashes his way across Hyboria on a mission that begins as a personal vendetta but turns into an epic battle against a supernatural evil. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘Lust for Life’; ‘Platoon’ and more," 5 Mar. 2021 Her stand against evil was one of faith, a fitting coda for this character. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The Stand Finale Recap: Be True," 11 Feb. 2021 Ava and her sister Warrior Nuns are definitely worthy to join the ranks of Buffy, Wynonna Earp, and Witchblade's Sara Pezzini as flawed-but-fierce women who fight against evil, in all its forms, for the greater good. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "TV Technica 2020: Our favorite shows and binges in a year of living distantly," 26 Dec. 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 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for evil

evil

adjective

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

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on evil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for evil

Nglish: Translation of evil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of evil for Arabic Speakers

Comments on evil

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