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

You'll be informed of malicious malware on any of your home's devices, see if any devices are speaking to one another that shouldn't, and ensure that no one is stealing your WiFi bandwidth. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, "Meet the New Way to Make Your WiFi Faster — And More Secure," 5 Nov. 2015 She was subjected to malicious personal and Islamophobic attacks from various entities, including conservative media, the far right and random citizens. Azmia Magane, Teen Vogue, "Congresswoman-Elect Ilhan Omar Shares How She Deals With Islamophobia and Advice for Young People," 9 Nov. 2018 In Apple’s eyes, encryption makes everyone’s devices harder to hack and less vulnerable to take-overs, viruses, and other malicious attacks that could undermine personal and corporate security, as well as public infrastructure and services. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Apple argues stronger encryption will thwart criminals in letter to Australian government," 12 Oct. 2018 Steganographic techniques have been around for millennia, but in recent years cybersecurity researchers have noticed hackers adopting them in malicious attacks, and developing new variations to make their hacks more successful. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "You Can Send Invisible Messages With Subtle Font Tweaks," 20 May 2018 Worse yet, malicious actors might build disease-causing microbes with features strategically tailored to thwart existing health security measures. R. Daniel Bressler, Vox, "“Designer bugs”: how the next pandemic might come from a lab," 6 Dec. 2018 To be clear, the article by the Post’s Cat Zakrzewski is about tech folks volunteering their time to provide leftist organizations with perfectly legitimate assistance, such as cybersecurity training to thwart malicious hackers. James Freeman, WSJ, "The ‘Mistake’ Facebook Keeps Making," 2 Nov. 2018 The warning says malicious Russian hackers have been targeting network infrastructure devices -- the types of devices that most internet traffic travels through, such as routers -- since 2015. Tal Kopan And Jessica Schneider, CNN, "US, UK issue joint warning on Russian hackers," 16 Apr. 2018 Bobbie Bishop, 40, and Walter Wynhoff, 44, both face felony charges of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, two counts of second-degree manslaughter and one count of malicious punishment of a child in connection to the April 9 incident. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Couple charged with murder in death of boy brought to hospital with horrific injuries," 11 Apr. 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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Last Updated

21 Mar 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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