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 Corporate email protectionscan identify and remove nearly all potentially malicious emails before a user within the health care system ever sees them, Gooden said. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, "A game of 'cat and mouse': Hacking attacks on hospitals for patient data increase during coronavirus pandemic," 13 July 2020 Recently, the malicious emails have evolved to capitalize on the pandemic, according to Microsoft. Washington Post, "Microsoft reports phishing campaign; Philip Morris wins marketing approval," 7 July 2020 The company trained campaign staff on basic cyber hygiene and monitored their accounts for malicious activity. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, "Can Our Ballots Be Both Secret and Secure?," 7 July 2020 Talic has been charged with one count each of threat of terrorism, obstruction of justice, fleeing and eluding in the third degree and malicious use of a telecommunication device, the prosecutor's office said. Emma Dale, Detroit Free Press, "Hamtramck man accused of making death threats against district court judge," 6 July 2020 Operating from a small room above a shuttered tea stall in a west-Delhi retail complex, BellTroX bombarded its targets with tens of thousands of malicious emails, according to the data reviewed by Reuters. NBC News, "Obscure Indian cyber firm spied on politicians, investors worldwide," 13 May 2020 These viruses, called phages, are like strings of malicious computer code trying to hack into a bacterial genome to trick it into making more phages. Megan Molteni, Wired, "This Company Wants to Rewrite the Future of Genetic Disease," 7 July 2020 Doxing refers to making private or identifying information public with malicious intent. CBS News, "White couple aims guns at St. Louis protesters," 30 June 2020 Rogers, who is being held without bond, initially faced charges of assault and battery, attempted malicious wounding and destruction of property with intent, according to online court records. Emily Davies, Washington Post, "Hate crime charges added against self-identified KKK leader accused of driving through protesters in Richmond," 25 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for malicious

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for malicious

Last Updated

1 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Malicious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/malicious. Accessed 5 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for malicious

malicious

adjective
How to pronounce malicious (audio)

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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