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

If ShadowHammer allowed the PC to download malicious BIOS software from another site, that software could take over the entire PC. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Update: Asus issues fix for ShadowHammer attack, and a tool to detect if your PC was affected," 26 Mar. 2019 An Australian cyberdefense agency official said the hackers had used malicious computer software, or malware, as well as techniques not seen previously that have since been shared with allies. Rob Taylor, WSJ, "Iranian Group Blamed for Cyberattack on Australia’s Parliament," 21 Feb. 2019 Certain sensitive information is housed within a virtual machine offering some protection from malicious software even if the operating system is compromised. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Windows 10 to get disposable sandboxes for dodgy apps," 9 Aug. 2018 Second, the defendants hacked into computer networks and installed malicious software that allowed them to spy on users and capture keystrokes, take screenshots, and exfiltrate or remove data from those computers. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Rod Rosenstein announces Russian indictments: “Blame for election interference belongs to the criminals”," 13 July 2018 The Ringer also points out that Cleganebowl would not only be a service to fans, but also a testament of how much The Hound has evolved as a character since his more malicious days in Season 1. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones Season 8: 18 Fan Theories to Know," 18 Mar. 2019 But recent malicious drone activity around London’s Gatwick Airport, which forced cancellation of some 1,000 flights affecting around 140,000 passengers, could help change the marketplace. Robert Wall, WSJ, "Counterdrone Technologies Face Slow Ramp-Up at Airports Globally," 2 Jan. 2019 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

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

2 May 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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