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. 2000A cunning and malicious crook who suckered him without half trying.— Philip Roth, American Pastoral, 1997Frank 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
Recent Examples on the WebThe exposure of email addresses presents a risk of phishing attacks, a scheme in which a hacker sends a target an e-mail and tricks them into sending over sensitive information by clicking a link that deploys malicious software.
Michelle Shen, USA TODAY, 22 Nov. 2021 Upon review of surveillance video, the suspect only appeared to tap the cashier on the shoulder and showed no malicious intent of harm.
cleveland, 29 Oct. 2021 One version is self-induced and the other is bestowed on individuals based on malicious intent.
Morey Haber, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 Fans also postulated that the faulty translations were not done with malicious intent.
Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone, 5 Oct. 2021 Linebackers Paired with its interior line, UAB’s outside linebackers are a force to be reckoned with as Alex Wright and Antonio Moultrie lead the pack with malicious intent.
Evan Dudley, al, 23 Sep. 2021 While some of the people allegedly involved in Trickbot have been apprehended, the malicious code itself is alive and well.
Sean Lyngaas, CNN, 28 Oct. 2021 Morey’s support was seen as offensive by Chinese audiences, who viewed the anti-government protests in Hong Kong that year as a malicious attempt to separate the autonomous city from its motherland.
Jane Li, Quartz, 21 Oct. 2021 There is the chance that a malicious code leverages the OTA and gets downloaded and installed.
Lance Eliot, Forbes, 19 Oct. 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.