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

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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 Allegations of hypocrisy and even malevolence zip between London and Brussels like a grumpy Eurostar. The Economist, 20 Mar. 2021 Like Milton’s Satan, Doro, for all his malevolence, has his creator’s sympathy. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 8 Mar. 2021 By the end, Hahn got reduced to floating malevolence. Darren Franich,, 5 Mar. 2021 To be realizing these things only now displays, if not malevolence, a lack of self-reflection. Washington Post, 2 Mar. 2021 Near the end of the evening, Jane Fonda gently steered the ship away from the iceberg by talking about all of the shows that the HFPA cruelly rebuffed, reacquainting them with their own general malevolence. Rachel Handler, Vulture, 1 Mar. 2021 Yes, there is a lot to mock in the Proud Boys playbook, but the bro-ish-ness of its branding actually helps to disguise its true malevolence. Courtney Shea,, 8 Jan. 2021 Trump’s broader policymaking seems to be motivated by something else — pure malevolence toward the needy and the natural world. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 25 Nov. 2020 Legion to leave as its ultimate message, the nasty ways in which individual morality and political conviction end up subsumed by corporate malevolence end up being the strongest impression left by the game. Reid Mccarter, Wired, 19 Nov. 2020

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

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Cite this Entry

“Malevolence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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