1

evil

play
adjective \ˈē-vəl, British often and US sometimes ˈē-(ˌ)vil\

Definition of evil

eviler

or

eviller

;

evilest

or

evillest

  1. 1a :  morally reprehensible :  sinful, wicked an evil impulseb :  arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct a person of evil reputation

  2. 2a archaic :  inferiorb :  causing discomfort or repulsion :  offensive an evil odorc :  disagreeable woke late and in an evil temper

  3. 3a :  causing harm :  pernicious the evil institution of slaveryb :  marked by misfortune :  unlucky

evil

adverb, archaic

evilly

play \ˈē-və(l)-lē, British often and US sometimes ˈē-(ˌ)vi(l)-\ adverb

evilness

play \ˈē-vəl-nəs, British often and US sometimes ˈē-(ˌ)vil-\ noun

Examples of evil in a Sentence

  1. She drank an evil potion.

  2. The city has fallen on evil days.

  3. It was an evil omen.

Recent Examples of evil from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of evil

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


2

evil

noun

Definition of evil

  1. 1a :  the fact of suffering, misfortune, and wrongdoingb :  a cosmic evil force

  2. 2 :  something that brings sorrow, distress, or calamity

Examples of evil in a Sentence

  1. the battle of good versus evil

  2. our free will allows us to choose between good and evil

Recent Examples of evil from the Web

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.

First Known Use of evil

before 12th century



EVIL Defined for English Language Learners

evil

play
adjective

Definition of evil for English Language Learners

  • : morally bad

  • : causing harm or injury to someone

  • : marked by bad luck or bad events

evil

noun

Definition of evil for English Language Learners

  • : the force of things that are morally bad

  • : something that is harmful or bad


EVIL Defined for Kids

1

evil

play
adjective \ˈē-vəl\

Definition of evil for Students

  1. 1 :  morally bad :  wicked an evil influence

  2. 2 :  causing harm :  tending to injure an evil spell

Headscratcher for evil

Evil and “vile” are spelled using the same letters and also have similar meanings. They can both be used to describe something or someone wicked.


2

evil

play
noun

Definition of evil for Students

  1. 1 :  something that brings sorrow, trouble, or destruction the evils of poverty

  2. 2 :  the fact of suffering or wrongdoing We must rid the world of evil.

  3. 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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to become worse as time passes

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