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

In 2003, three of the five wrongly accused men (Antron, Raymond, and Kevin) sued the city of New York for malicious prosecution, racial discrimination, and emotional distress. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "Linda Fairstein Responds to Backlash Following Netflix's 'When They See Us'," 6 June 2019 At the beginning of June, the city’s interim IT director, Justin Williams, said a city-wide computer outage was caused by a malicious virus sent in an email. Kristen Chapman, sun-sentinel.com, "Riviera Beach to pay Bitcoin ransom (about $600K) to hacker who shut down city computers," 19 June 2019 Given the extent to which online mob behavior so often depends upon a combination of malicious falsehoods and attempted economic reprisals, many incidents immediately implicate the common law. David French, National Review, "The Oberlin Trial Is a Blueprint for Fighting Back," 10 June 2019 Support systems Companies need to come up with policies to curb malicious behavior, multiple HR experts said. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "A dramatic suicide threat puts the spotlight on the deeply disturbed Indian employee," 4 June 2019 Showing the transformative nature of the artistic process, a 10-year-old laptop infected with six of the most malicious computer viruses in the world has been sold at auction for $1.345 million. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "This Crappy, Virus-Infected Laptop Just Sold for $1.3 Million," 29 May 2019 Our focus is on the health of the service, and that includes work to remove fake accounts to prevent malicious behavior. Aaron Rupar, Vox, "Trump’s social media conspiracy theory, briefly debunked," 18 Dec. 2018 Displaying homophobic messaging in his videos would seem to put Crowder in clear violation of YouTube’s policy against malicious bullying. Aja Romano, Vox, "YouTube may allow hate speech if it’s part of a larger argument. Yikes.," 6 June 2019 Russian agents targeted state and local elections officials using VR Systems products with malicious emails. NBC News, "Feds to test North Carolina election computers for signs of Russian hacking," 5 June 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

11 Jul 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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an act or instance of editing or removing

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