malicious

adjective
ma·​li·​cious | \ mə-ˈli-shəs How to pronounce malicious (audio) \

Definition of malicious

: having or showing a desire to cause harm to someone : given to, marked by, or arising from malice malicious gossip

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Other Words from malicious

maliciously adverb
maliciousness noun

Malicious, Malevolent, and Malice

Malicious and malevolent are close in meaning, since both refer to ill will that desires to see someone else suffer. But while malevolent suggests deep and lasting dislike, malicious usually means petty and spiteful. Malicious gossipers are often simply envious of a neighbor's good fortune. Vandals may take malicious pleasure in destroying and defacing property but usually don't truly hate the owners. Malice is an important legal concept, which has to be proved in order to convict someone of certain crimes such as first-degree murder.

Examples of malicious in a Sentence

… she is an inspired hater, and thrills to malicious descriptions of long-forgotten, nameless individuals whose bad luck it was to live near her, or to have met her socially. — Joyce Carol Oates, New York Times Book Review, 5 Nov. 2000 A cunning and malicious crook who suckered him without half trying. — Philip Roth, American Pastoral, 1997 Frank sensed her discomfort and took a certain malicious pleasure in it, enacting all the while his perfect innocence. — John Updike, The Afterlife, 1994 a malicious distortion of the truth the neighborhood chatterbox has again been spreading malicious gossip
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Recent Examples on the Web

But speaking after his team's lacklustre performance against Tottenham in Munich at the Audi Cup, Zidane insisted there was nothing untoward or malicious behind Bale's omission. SI.com, "Zinedine Zidane Confirms Reason for Gareth Bale Absence & Discusses James Rodriguez Future," 31 July 2019 He was charged with robbery and malicious wounding. Lisa M. Bolton, Washington Post, "Prince William crime report," 31 July 2019 Two Jefferson County jail deputies who were acquitted last year of criminal negligence in the death of an inmate are now suing the district attorneys who took them to trial, alleging malicious prosecution. oregonlive.com, "Two Jefferson County jail deputies acquitted in inmate’s death file suit, alleging malicious prosecution," 26 July 2019 In 1798, Congress passed the Sedition Act, making it a federal crime to publish false, scandalous, or malicious writing about the US government. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 14 July 2019 Groups who question this system or rebel against it are presented as genetically inferior and malicious beings who must learn to acknowledge their proper place in the social order. Dan Hassler-forest, chicagotribune.com, "Commentary: ‘The Lion King’ is a fascistic story. No remake can change that," 10 July 2019 The Secret Service says one person was arrested for felony assault on a police officer and malicious burning. Time, "2 People Were Arrested After a Fourth of July Flag-Burning Incident Near the White House," 5 July 2019 He is scheduled to appear in court July 15 on charges of operating while intoxicated and malicious destruction of property. Anna Bauman, Detroit Free Press, "Report: Lake St. Clair boater arrested after ramming incident," 2 July 2019 Moreover they can be adapted by hobbyists both benign and malicious. The Economist, "Drones piloted by climate-change activists target Heathrow," 14 June 2019

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

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for malicious

see malice

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Statistics for malicious

Last Updated

8 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for malicious

The first known use of malicious was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for malicious

malicious

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of malicious

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

malicious

adjective
ma·​li·​cious | \ mə-ˈli-shəs How to pronounce malicious (audio) \

Kids Definition of malicious

: feeling or showing a desire to cause harm to another person malicious gossip

Other Words from malicious

maliciously adverb

malicious

adjective
ma·​li·​cious | \ mə-ˈli-shəs How to pronounce malicious (audio) \

Legal Definition of malicious

: given to, marked by, or arising from malice malicious destruction of property

Other Words from malicious

maliciously adverb
maliciousness noun

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Comments on malicious

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