mal·​e·​dic·​tion ˌma-lə-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce malediction (audio)
: curse, execration
I taunted him, ridiculed him, and loaded him with maledictionsSir Walter Scott
maledictory adjective

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Malediction, which at one time could also refer to slander or to the condition of being reviled or slandered, derives (via Middle English and Late Latin) from the Latin verb maledicere, meaning "to speak evil of" or "to curse." "Maledicere," in turn, was formed by combining the Latin words male, meaning "badly," and "dicere," "to speak" or "to say." You may recognize both of those component parts, as each has made a significant contribution to the English language. "Male" is the ancestor of such words as "malady," "malevolent," and "malign"; "dicere" gives us "contradict," "dictate," "diction," "edict" and "prediction," just to name a few.

Examples of malediction in a Sentence

the two old women began casting aspersions and heaping maledictions upon one another
Recent Examples on the Web Despite this Sisyphean malediction, with each call for new proposals, the community still tries to push its boulder back to the mountaintop. Robin George Andrews, Scientific American, 2 June 2021 But perhaps the malediction presently heaped upon them will give them pause in the future. Winston Groom, WSJ, 4 Dec. 2018 Their language seemed perfectly suited for songs and maledictions. Linda Kinstler, Longreads, 27 June 2018

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

Word History


Middle English malediccioun, from Late Latin malediction-, maledictio, from maledicere to curse, from Latin, to speak evil of, from male badly + dicere to speak, say — more at mal-, diction

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of malediction was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near malediction

Cite this Entry

“Malediction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a prayer for harm to come to someone : curse
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