malign

adjective
ma·​lign | \ mə-ˈlīn How to pronounce malign (audio) \

Definition of malign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : evil in nature, influence, or effect : injurious the malign effects of illicit drugs
b : malignant, virulent a malign lesion
2 : having or showing intense often vicious ill will : malevolent gave him a malign look

malign

verb
maligned; maligning; maligns

Definition of malign (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to utter injuriously misleading or false reports about : speak evil of Her supporters say that she has been unfairly maligned in the press.

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Other Words from malign

Adjective

malignly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for malign

Adjective

sinister, baleful, malign mean seriously threatening evil or disaster. sinister suggests a general or vague feeling of fear or apprehension on the part of the observer. a sinister aura haunts the place baleful imputes perniciousness or destructiveness to something whether working openly or covertly. exerting a corrupt and baleful influence malign applies to what is inherently evil or harmful. the malign effects of racism

Verb

malign, traduce, asperse, vilify, calumniate, defame, slander mean to injure by speaking ill of. malign suggests specific and often subtle misrepresentation but may not always imply deliberate lying. the most maligned monarch in British history traduce stresses the resulting ignominy and distress to the victim. so traduced the governor that he was driven from office asperse implies continued attack on a reputation often by indirect or insinuated detraction. both candidates aspersed the other's motives vilify implies attempting to destroy a reputation by open and direct abuse. no criminal was more vilified in the press calumniate imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions. falsely calumniated as a traitor defame stresses the actual loss of or injury to one's good name. sued them for defaming her reputation slander stresses the suffering of the victim. town gossips slandered their good name

Did You Know?

Verb

When a word's got "mal-" in it, it's no good. That prefix traces to the Latin word malus (which means "bad"), and it puts the negative vibes in "malign" and a host of other English words. You can see it in "malpractice" (bad medical practice) and "malady" (a bad condition, such as a disease or illness, of the body or mind). A "malefactor" is someone guilty of bad deeds, and "malice" is a desire to cause injury, pain, or distress to another person. Other "mal-" formed words include "malaise," "malcontent," "maladroit," "malodorous," and "malnourished."

Examples of malign in a Sentence

Adjective both parties to the divorce showed a malign desire to make each other's future life utterly miserable Verb Her supporters say she is being unfairly maligned in the press. a candidate who believes that it is possible to win an election without maligning anyone
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Critics of the Russian pipeline project seen it as a malign foreign influence operation by the Kremlin. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "GOP says Biden admin actions on Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline don't go far enough," 19 Feb. 2021 But a recent study by the office of the Los Angeles County Counsel concluded that the county has paid out some $55 million to settle lawsuits accusing such groups of malign influence. New York Times, "Police Forces Have Long Tried to Weed Out Extremists in the Ranks. Then Came the Capitol Riot.," 16 Feb. 2021 None had a concrete idea for how the UIL should, or could, curb the phenomenon few coaches openly denounce but many quietly malign. Dallas News, "Texas high school football central: Recapping the 6A and 5A state championships through stories, photos," 17 Jan. 2021 And the threat is not just from malign actors but also from the vendors and their clients, who could enable the wireless capability for maintenance purposes then forget to turn it off, leaving machines vulnerable. Frank Bajak, Star Tribune, "Activists complain of weakened voting security standard," 5 Feb. 2021 None had a concrete idea for how the UIL should, or could, curb the phenomenon few coaches openly denounce but many quietly malign. Dallas News, "Texas high school football central: Recapping the 6A and 5A state championships through stories, photos," 17 Jan. 2021 This ostensibly would be followed by negotiations over other malign Iranian behavior. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Biden’s Iran Policy vs. Reality in Tehran," 4 Jan. 2021 Sure, Biden admitted, the agreement did not cover Iran’s missile programs, or support for terrorism, or human-rights violations, or malign behavior in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "There’s No Reason for Biden to Reward Iran," 19 Dec. 2020 None had a concrete idea for how the UIL should, or could, curb the phenomenon few coaches openly denounce but many quietly malign. Dallas News, "Texas high school football central: Recapping the 6A and 5A state championships through stories, photos," 17 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And the Georgia Republican Party has descended into a state of virtual civil war as some of its most powerful players maneuver and malign their rivals, seeking advantage, or at least survival. New York Times, "‘It Has to Stop’: Georgia Election Official Lashes Trump," 1 Dec. 2020 People have set up social media accounts just to malign her. Malia Wollan, New York Times, "How to Find a Lost Hamster," 17 Nov. 2020 These are malicious lies intended to damage and malign the brand of Parler. Arielle Pardes, Wired, "Parler Games: Inside the Right's Favorite 'Free Speech' App," 12 Nov. 2020 That's really to malign the U.S. and pit Americans against each other. CBS News, "Former FBI special agent analyzes election threat posed by Russia, China and Iran," 28 Oct. 2020 Trump and his supporters have managed to malign the scientists and marginalize the science. Editorial Board Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "A grim milestone for COVID-19: 200,000," 21 Sep. 2020 The word suggests bovine acquiescence to even malign authority and paralyzing conformity. Eric Zorn, chicagotribune.com, "Column: BLM’s racial justice message vs. ‘law and order’," 11 Aug. 2020 But in her home country of Pakistan, many despise Yousafzai as an alleged tool of an international campaign to malign Pakistan. Danica Kirka, USA TODAY, "Malala Yousafzai completes her Oxford degree. Next? 'Netflix, reading and sleep'," 20 June 2020 But my impulse to malign them evaporated last year when Ollie and Dollie raised their chicks underneath our chair. National Geographic, "Exploration is just a click away.," 22 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'malign.' 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 malign

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for malign

Adjective

Middle English maligne, from Anglo-French, from Latin malignus, from male badly + gignere to beget — more at mal-, kin

Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French maligner to act maliciously, from Late Latin malignari, from Latin malignus — see malign entry 1

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Time Traveler for malign

Time Traveler

The first known use of malign was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Malign.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/malign. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for malign

malign

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of malign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : causing or intended to cause harm

malign

verb

English Language Learners Definition of malign (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : to say bad things about (someone or something) publicly : to criticize (someone or something) harshly or unfairly

malign

adjective
ma·​lign | \ mə-ˈlīn How to pronounce malign (audio) \

Kids Definition of malign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

malign

verb
maligned; maligning

Kids Definition of malign (Entry 2 of 2)

: to say evil things about : slander

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Comments on malign

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