ma·​lev·​o·​lence | \ mə-ˈle-və-lən(t)s How to pronounce malevolence (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Like other billionaires, Zuckerberg has the money, power, and influence to take a stand against such malfeasance and malevolence. Siva Vaidhyanathan, Wired, "Mark Zuckerberg Believes Only in Mark Zuckerberg," 3 June 2020 These two men are just incompetent fools, leavened with a large helping of malevolence in Cuomo's case. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "America's coronavirus death toll has been a bipartisan achievement," 22 May 2020 More than that, this crisis is becoming a test of the international order, formal and institutional or informal and cultural, to cope with the pressures placed on it by nationalism, quackery, corruption, ignorance, and malevolence. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, "Trump’s European Travel Ban Doesn’t Make Sense," 12 Mar. 2020 This isn’t malevolence on the part of the other drivers, necessarily—typically anyone who needs a charger has snagged one by then. Andrew Moseman, Fortune, "The next frontier of road rage is the parking garage," 31 Jan. 2020 Each song features a self-destructive undercurrent that suggests the influence of leftist malevolence, the sorrowful, angry backbiting of revenge and resistance. Armond White, National Review, "Alicia Keys and Billie Eilish Bring Political Blues to the Grammys," 27 Jan. 2020 While Democratic presidential candidates have agreed on Soleimani's malevolence and none have mourned his killing, all have questioned the strike and the administration's justification. Karen Deyoung, Anchorage Daily News, "Senior Trump officials struggle to explain intelligence behind killing of Iranian general," 13 Jan. 2020 Parts of the song teeter right on the edge of malevolence as the band members use their mythic powers to battle their alter-egos, infamously dubbed X-EXO. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 25 Best K-pop Songs of 2019: Critics' Picks," 29 Dec. 2019 Seldom has apparent magnanimity disguised such malevolence. The Economist, "India passes a bill purporting to help refugees. In fact, it seeks to hurt Muslims," 11 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of malevolence

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about malevolence

Time Traveler for malevolence

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for malevolence

Last Updated

16 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Malevolence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on malevolence

What made you want to look up malevolence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!