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 With the exception of two cases identified so far, the majority of malicious incidents involved drivers associated with the far-right, said Weil. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Drivers struck street protesters dozens of times this summer as memes of vehicle attacks circulated, researchers say," 21 Oct. 2020 Good manners, a willingness to listen, and a refusal to attribute malicious motives to one’s opponent are not the exclusive preserve of formal political hearings. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "Why the Senators Don’t Hate Each Other," 20 Oct. 2020 Prosecutors say the hackers unleashed a devastating malicious software attack during the opening ceremony in February 2018 that deleted data from thousands of computers related to the event and left them inoperable. Eric Tucker, The Christian Science Monitor, "Russian intelligence officers charged by US for cyberattacks," 20 Oct. 2020 As Russia’s interests abroad have focused on building the country’s standing as a player on the global stage — including malicious operations such as trying to influence U.S. presidential elections — the Kremlin’s grip has weakened closer to home. Washington Post, "With unrest on all sides, Russia’s regional muscle is being tested," 16 Oct. 2020 Among other things, Microsoft argued in court documents that the botnet violates the company's copyright through the malicious use of its software code, a new legal argument for the company. Grant Gross, Washington Examiner, "Microsoft and partners shut down major botnet," 15 Oct. 2020 How does Facebook identify malicious content to flag and remove? Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Facebook Is Banning Anti-Vaccine Ads and Holocaust Denial Content. Will It Work?," 14 Oct. 2020 State officials blamed the outage on an equipment failure at a data center managed by an outside contractor and said there wasn’t any evidence of malicious interference. Alexa Corse, WSJ, "Virginia’s Voter-Registration Site Goes Offline on Last Day to Register," 13 Oct. 2020 There are steps that election officials, their supporting SLTT IT staff, and vendors can take to help defend against this malicious cyber activity. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "FBI/DHS: Government election systems face threat from active Zerologon exploits," 9 Oct. 2020

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

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Malicious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/malicious. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for malicious

malicious

adjective
How to pronounce malicious (audio)

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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