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 The story is set in Kumandra, a make-believe land inspired by various Southeast Asian nations, where humans and dragons lived in harmony until the latter sacrificed themselves to protect the world from malicious spirits known as the Drunn. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, "Disney’s hopeful ‘Raya’ is another leap for female heroes," 8 Mar. 2021 Each of these dependencies exposes organizations to systemic risks that can be exploited by malicious cyber actors if they are not adequately governed and managed. Bob Zukis, Forbes, "President Biden’s Supply Chain Executive Order And The Boardroom," 1 Mar. 2021 Apple believed that creating a back door into the phone would weaken security and could be used by malicious actors. Author: Ellen Nakashima, Reed Albergotti, Anchorage Daily News, "To unlock a terrorist’s iPhone after Apple refused, the FBI turned to an obscure company in Australia," 14 Apr. 2021 Apple believed that creating a back door into the phone would weaken security and could be used by malicious actors. Washington Post, "The FBI wanted to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. It turned to a little-known Australian firm.," 14 Apr. 2021 The company said that the malicious actors did not hack its systems. Chris Smith, BGR, "Facebook will note tell you if your data has been compromised in massive breach," 8 Apr. 2021 Second, malicious actors are taking advantage of this digital transformation and pose a growing threat to the global financial system, financial stability and confidence in the integrity of the system. CNN, "We must defend against the cyber threats facing our global financial systems," 14 Mar. 2021 This openness is also a vulnerability, one that opens the door to asymmetric threats and small-time malicious actors. Barath Raghavan, Wired, "Bitcoin’s Greatest Feature Is Also Its Existential Threat," 9 Mar. 2021 By driving engagement and traffic to their sites, these malicious actors display ads and make money. Time, "Disinformation Is Among the Greatest Threats to Our Democracy. Here Are Three Key Ways to Fight It," 5 Mar. 2021

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

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Malicious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/malicious. Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on malicious

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