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

One offered Gmail users a malicious ‘‘Anti-Phishing Guard App’’ to protect themselves from cybercriminals. Raphael Satter, BostonGlobe.com, "Long-hidden hackers unmasked by special counsel investigation," 13 July 2018 Former Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue has been taken into custody at a London Police Station following claims of suspected arson, as well as malicious communication outside of a home in Enfield. SI.com, "Arson-al: Ex-Gunners Defender Arrested in London on Suspicion of Arson," 8 July 2018 By obtaining read and write privileges over the server's address space, the attack had the ability to execute code of the researcher's choice, at least when running on memory chips that don't protect against malicious bit flips. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Packets over a LAN are all it takes to trigger serious Rowhammer bit flips," 10 May 2018 But Woodard said Harris' major injuries involved his head and that the kicks didn't amount to malicious wounding or even assault and battery. Ian Shapira, Anchorage Daily News, "White supremacist is guilty in Charlottesville parking garage beating of black man," 2 May 2018 He was charged with cruelty to animals, malicious destruction of property, and larceny, and will be arraigned in Gardner District Court on Monday. Abigail Feldman, BostonGlobe.com, "Man arrested for killing baby goat in Ashburnham," 25 June 2018 TeBos’ attorney, Todd Pugh, said his client did not have any malicious intent. Clifford Ward, chicagotribune.com, "Third ex-football player from Wheaton College pleads guilty to misdemeanor battery in hazing," 19 June 2018 Police arrested the 20-year-old woman after incident, which happened on Tuesday around 1:30 a.m., and charged her with malicious destruction of property, according to Fox17. Josh Magness, kansascity, "Woman causes destruction at Planet Fitness, hurls computer at an employee, video shows," 15 June 2018 Typically, a caregiver plans to keep the child in the car for only a few minutes to run an errand and has no malicious intent. Maritza Moulite, CNN, "37 US children die in hot cars each year, report says," 12 June 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

19 Sep 2018

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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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occurring twice a year or every two years

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