evil

adjective
\ ˈē-vəl, 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

evil adverb, archaic
evilly \ ˈē-​və(l)-​lē , British often and US sometimes  ˈē-​(ˌ)vi(l)-​ \ adverb
evilness \ ˈē-​vəl-​nəs , 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 President Donald Trump so craves to have the evil mainstream media love him. vanityfair.com, "Trump’s Emotional Roller Coaster Jumps the Tracks," 17 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 morning babble Trump & Friends was back in full post-holiday boosterish mode, bashing the evil mainstream media for suggesting President Trump might be pandering in comments about a British child with the rare illness. The Hive, "New York Not Impressed By Rahm Emanuel’s Gloating," 5 July 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 Madigan performed his evil genius tax raising act — with the 15 craven Republicans — in early July, not June. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "No shortage of people standing tall in the face of little support," 5 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Well, the media seized on the story, spinning the stripper's credible accusation into a tale of white privilege, misogyny and just pure evil. Fox News, "Ingraham: The rush to judgment and injustice for Kavanaugh," 18 Sep. 2018 So, is Hiram the Gargoyle King, or is this the one evil occurance that Hiram has managed to stay out of? Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Who is the Gargoyle King? 6 Theories on the Identity of the Creature Wreaking Havoc on "Riverdale"," 29 Nov. 2018 Then came a bombshell: Kim is Nagini, a woman who will eventually become the pet snake-slash-Horcrux of evil Lord Voldemort. Lilli Millhiser, Glamour, "Everyone Is Going to Be Talking About Fantastic Beasts Actress Claudia Kim," 14 Nov. 2018 Think about that word, and said that those who supported me were, quote, complicit in evil. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of Brett Kavanaugh's Opening Statement at Today's Hearing," 27 Sep. 2018 Pinn is a professor of African-American religion, constructive theology and humanist thought whose work often explores the nature of evil. Jef Rouner, Houston Chronicle, "‘Night of the Living Dead’: What a zombie classic says about death in America," 3 July 2018 While acting, Claire has a smile that reflects satisfaction, self-centeredness, and perhaps evil, Reynolds said. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Thriller written in 1950s delves into nature vs. nurture," 30 Apr. 2018 What's not to love about a show that has whispers of all that is mostly evil, a hot dad (who lives in Brooklyn with those kids), and a severely underrated angel named Dorota? 2. Seventeen, "The 20 Greatest TV Teen Dramas of All Time," 4 Dec. 2018 His songs were always about good versus evil and following your dreams. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Ronnie James Dio's widow says it was 'very difficult' sending his possessions to auction: 'Some of the shirts still smell of him'," 19 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for evil

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Time Traveler for evil

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

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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 \

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with evil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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