malevolent

play
adjective ma·lev·o·lent \ mə-ˈle-və-lənt \

Definition of malevolent

1 :having, showing, or arising from intense often vicious ill will, spite, or hatred
2 :productive of harm or evil

malevolently

adverb

Examples of malevolent in a Sentence

  1. There was no acknowledgment of the effects of cycle upon cycle of malevolent defeat, of the injury of seeing one generation rise above the cusp of poverty only to be indignantly crushed, of the impact of repeating tsunamis of violence … —Douglas A. BlackmonSlavery By Another Name2008
  2. The sky looks heavy enough to sink and crush us when we see another twister bullying across the fields—a squat, malevolent-looking wedge. —Priit J. VesilindNational GeographicApril 2004
  3. No bigger than most house cats, it is possessed of such formidable armor and malevolent mien that when the makers of the latest Godzilla epic went looking for a prototype, they selected this lizard … —Peter BenchleyNational GeographicApril 1999
  4. The predominant spirit is very un-American; a kind of malevolent, drifting determinism pervades human beings who cannot, or do not want to, cope. —John FowlesAtlanticAugust 1986
  5. the novel grossly oversimplified the conflict as a struggle between relentlessly malevolent villains on one side and faultless saints on the other

Recent Examples of malevolent from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'malevolent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

On the Origin of malevolent

That malevolent begins with male- does not imply any connection with gender. The word's initial component comes ultimately from the Latin adverb male "badly"; English male "a man or a boy," by contrast, descends from the unrelated Latin noun masculus "male." Malevolent was taken into English directly from the Latin malevolens "ill-disposed, spiteful," which paired male with volens, the present participle of a verb meaning "to wish." In Latin, the combination literally meant "wishing ill." The "wishing" component of malevolent may also be found in its antonym benevolent "kind and generous" (from Latin benevolens, literally, "wishing well") and in a rare English word, somnivolency ("a sleep-inducing agent"), in which it is yoked with somni- "sleep" (from Latin somnus) in a compound literally meaning "inclination to sleep."

Origin and Etymology of malevolent

Latin malevolent-, malevolens, from male badly + volent-, volens, present participle of velle to wish — more at mal-, will


MALEVOLENT Defined for English Language Learners

malevolent

play
adjective

Definition of malevolent for English Language Learners

  • : having or showing a desire to cause harm to another person


MALEVOLENT Defined for Kids

malevolent

play
adjective ma·lev·o·lent \ mə-ˈle-və-lənt \

Definition of malevolent for Students

:having or showing a desire to cause harm to another person
  • Christy and Megan … were whispering over on the other side of the room and casting malevolent looks in Mary Lou's direction.
  • —Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons


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