Definition of malicious
: having or showing a desire to cause harm to someone : given to, marked by, or arising from malice <malicious gossip>
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>
Did You Know?
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.
Origin and Etymology of malicious
First Known Use: 13th century
MALICIOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of malicious for English Language Learners
: having or showing a desire to cause harm to another person : having or showing malice
MALICIOUS Defined for Kids
Definition of malicious for Students
: feeling or showing a desire to cause harm to another person <malicious gossip>
Legal Definition of malicious
: given to, marked by, or arising from malice <malicious destruction of property>
Seen and Heard
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