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

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 The 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.

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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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Dictionary Entries Near malicious

maliceful

malicious

malicious abandonment

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Statistics for malicious

Last Updated

30 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Malicious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/malicious. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on malicious

Nglish: Translation of malicious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of malicious for Arabic Speakers

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