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

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 Sarah Hart was charged with malicious punishment of a child, which was dismissed, and misdemeanor domestic assault. Katie Reilly, Time, "Child Abuse Claims Could Be Key to Answering Mystery Question in California Cliff Crash: Why?," 9 Apr. 2018 She is charged with malicious punishment of a child and misdemeanor domestic assault, according to Minnesota court records. Eric Levenson, CNN, "A timeline leading up to the Hart family's fatal crash off a cliff," 5 Apr. 2018 Following her plea, a charge for malicious punishment of a child reportedly was dismissed. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Six children feared dead after SUV plunged off California cliff; 2 women killed," 29 Mar. 2018 Her plea led to the dismissal of a charge of malicious punishment of a child, online court records say. Washington Post, "Friends, neighbors vary on family killed in cliff fall," 29 Mar. 2018 Her plea also led to the dismissal of a charge of malicious punishment of a child, online court records say. Paul Elias And Steven Dubois, chicagotribune.com, "Officials search for 3 kids after cliff crash kills family in California," 28 Mar. 2018 If a computer on a corporate network tries to connect to an untrustworthy website, for example, corporate-security researchers can click on that web address and see what other malicious activity has been linked to that site in the past. Robert Mcmillan, WSJ, "To Fight This Generation of Hackers, Companies Take a Cue from Spies," 8 Nov. 2018 The War on Drugs was infamously enacted by President Richard Nixon in 1971 and is now considered by many to have been created with malicious racial intent. Kim Reynolds, Teen Vogue, "How White People Have Reacted to Black Success Over Time in the United States," 30 July 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

26 Dec 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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