ma·​lev·​o·​lence | \mə-ˈle-və-lən(t)s \

Definition of malevolence 

1 : the quality or state of being malevolent slander that arose from pure malevolence

2 : malevolent behavior an era full of selfishness and malevolence

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Choose the Right Synonym for malevolence

malice, malevolence, ill will, spite, malignity, spleen, grudge mean the desire to see another experience pain, injury, or distress. malice implies a deep-seated often unexplainable desire to see another suffer. felt no malice toward their former enemies malevolence suggests a bitter persistent hatred that is likely to be expressed in malicious conduct. a look of dark malevolence ill will implies a feeling of antipathy of limited duration. ill will provoked by a careless remark spite implies petty feelings of envy and resentment that are often expressed in small harassments. petty insults inspired by spite malignity implies deep passion and relentlessness. a life consumed by motiveless malignity spleen suggests the wrathful release of latent spite or persistent malice. venting his spleen against politicians grudge implies a harbored feeling of resentment or ill will that seeks satisfaction. never one to harbor a grudge

Examples of malevolence in a Sentence

only mindless malevolence would explain this cruel vandalism

Recent Examples on the Web

There may not be tanks in the streets and the administration`s malevolence may be constrained by now by its incompetence, but make no mistake, our democracy is in crisis. James Freeman, WSJ, "Clinton, Trump and Authoritarianism," 19 Sep. 2018 As with most forms of human malevolence, there is nothing new under the sun. Laura Hudson, The Verge, "Twitter is wrong: facts are not enough to combat Alex Jones," 10 Aug. 2018 What isn’t always apparent, primarily because of the humor of the writing, is the kind of malevolence and desperation that could compel a man to try to have another man killed. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Sex, Lies, and Bunnies in A Very English Scandal," 3 July 2018 Their death is a reliable shock, relatably distressing and an instant indicator of the bad guy’s abject badness, or the malevolent spirit’s abject malevolence. Kelly Conaboy, The Cut, "Hereditary’s Single Bit of Mercy," 25 June 2018 Rents have risen dramatically, though this can be the fault of thoughtless regulations which hinder supply more than the malevolence of gentrifiers. The Economist, "In praise of gentrification," 21 June 2018 In real life, verruca vulgaris is not a manifestation of malevolence. Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, "Dermatologists Find That Memorable Movie Villains Are Distinguished by Facial Skin Conditions," 1 Sep. 2017 Cambridge Analytica and the New Wave of Hacker Style Andrew Testa/The New York Times/Redux One part right-wing malevolence, one part pink hair. Sam Schube, GQ, "Cambridge Analytica and the New Wave of Hacker Style," 19 Mar. 2018 The effect is like that of entering a movie set depicting the high-tech lair of a villain in a James Bond film, but without the air of menace and malevolence. Steven Litt,, "Tauba Auerbach show at MOCA Cleveland melds art, physics (photos)," 15 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'malevolence.' 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 malevolence

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for malevolence

The first known use of malevolence was in the 15th century

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