malicious

adjective
ma·​li·​cious | \mə-ˈli-shəs \

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

The recent incidents, ranging from injections of malicious computer code to a massive number of bogus requests for voter registration forms, have not been publicly disclosed until now. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Four ways the internet changed the midterm elections," 7 Nov. 2018 Their complex structure is routinely exploited by bad actors who create phishing sites that superficially appear to be legitimate but are in fact malicious. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Google wants to get rid of URLs but doesn’t know what to use instead," 5 Sep. 2018 Supermicro has also denied knowing anything about malicious chips being secretly implanted into any of its motherboards during the manufacturing process, as Bloomberg reported. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Apple CEO Tim Cook calls on Bloomberg to retract its Chinese spy story," 19 Oct. 2018 Security researchers at RiskIQ said the attack worked by injecting malicious JavaScript onto Newegg's page to skim credit card information and sent it it to a domain registered as Neweggstats.com. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Newegg confirms credit card information was taken in a sophisticated attack," 20 Sep. 2018 In 1798, Congress passed the Sedition Act, making it a federal crime to publish false, scandalous or malicious writing about the United States government. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 14 July 2018 Installing software updates may also help users block attacks that try to download cryptojacking software or other malicious programs to their computers. Richard Enbody, Scientific American, "Cryptojacking Spreads Across the Web," 9 May 2018 The 11-count indictment alleges that the Russian agents infiltrated the networks, stealing documents on field operations, opposition research and campaign analytics and implanting malicious computer code. Jean Marbella, baltimoresun.com, "State investigates Russian investor's ties to Maryland elections software," 13 July 2018 Hannah and Devonte Hart When a teacher in Minnesota found bruises on then 6-year-old Abigail’s body in 2010, Jennifer was charged with domestic assault and malicious punishment. Harriet Sokmensuer, PEOPLE.com, "Hart Family Crash: Acquaintances Say Moms Mistreated Kids But Made Them Pose for 'Happy' Facebook Photos," 2 May 2018

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

28 Nov 2018

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 \

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 \

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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