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

Another five iOS exploit chains were exposed in malicious websites that took over scores of victim devices. Wired, "How Safari and iMessage Have Made iPhones Less Secure," 9 Sep. 2019 In 2012, Bayliss, who is a criminal-and-family lawyer, represented Lizon on charges of kidnapping, malicious wounding, and domestic battery. Charles Bethea, The New Yorker, "A Father, a Daughter, and the Attempt to Change the Census," 13 July 2019 That means more visibility and logging features, along with better techniques for manufacturers, companies, and consumers alike to spot malicious activity. Wired, "It's Time for IoT Security's Next Big Step," 11 Sep. 2019 Google scanners are unable to catch everything, particularly when developers sneak malicious or unethical code into apps that have already passed initial inspections. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Google Play app with 100 million downloads executed secret payloads," 27 Aug. 2019 Ian Gretka, 25, of Leesburg, who was hired in August 2016, was charged with malicious battery and will be fired, state corrections officials said in a news release. Stephen Hudak, orlandosentinel.com, "Fourth Lake Correctional Institution guard charged in videotaped beating of prisoner," 19 Aug. 2019 This has led to the spread of extreme and malicious views. Kristina Libby, Popular Mechanics, "Why Tech Will Never Be Able to Predict the Next Mass Shooting," 6 Aug. 2019 Google's researchers say the malicious sites were programmed to assess devices that loaded them, and to compromise them with powerful monitoring malware if possible. Wired, "Mysterious iOS Attack Changes Everything We Know About iPhone Hacking," 30 Aug. 2019 There is something objectively problematic and harmful to our users when malicious actors attempt to deceive them. Bill Lambrecht, ExpressNews.com, "Advocates push Census Bureau to prepare for security breaches, disinformation ahead of 2020 count," 30 Aug. 2019

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

3 Oct 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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