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 Both countries have become quick to assume the other has malign motives. The Economist, "400-pound rivals China views Donald Trump’s America with growing distrust and scorn," 2 Jan. 2020 Iran is having an incredibly malign influence in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen. CBS News, "Transcript: Adam Smith talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 11 Dec. 2019 But the sanctions and the maximum pressure are not going to be let up until Iran abandons its nuclear program and abandons its malign activities in the region. CBS News, "Transcript: Robert O'Brien on "Face the Nation," December 8, 2019," 8 Dec. 2019 Though Abt considers it a malign narrative, stressing that a major component of today’s violent-crime problem is black-on-black underscores the tragic irony of African-American victimhood. Barry Latzer, National Review, "The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime," 5 Dec. 2019 People malign identity politics and could misinterpret my message here to be: Any female president would be better than any male president. Andrea Bartz, Marie Claire, "The Real Winner of Last Night's Debate: The All-Female Moderating Team," 21 Nov. 2019 Clearly, malign foreign actors are not necessary to inject poison into the stream of political discourse. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, "The Problem of Political Advertising on Social Media," 24 Oct. 2019 Understand that this is ignorance or malign deception, even when uttered by a candidate. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Labor force gray areas demand explanation," 13 Oct. 2019 But instead of marshaling global unity against Tehran’s malign activities, Trump abandoned the nuclear agreement the U.N. reported Iran had been adhering to. Karim Sadjadpour, Time, "Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Is One Despot Trump Might Not Win Over," 3 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When approached from a see-the-forest perspective, even oft-maligned, old standard trails can qualify as top destinations. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "This is one of Phoenix's best loved hikes. Here's why," 8 Jan. 2020 Kershaw’s postseason career has been much maligned. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "Clayton Kershaw is no longer the Dodgers’ ace, but his NLDS role is crucial," 4 Oct. 2019 Palm oil has been much maligned for its role in driving deforestation, and researchers believe macaques could enhance palm oil sustainability by reducing rat populations. Jack Guy, CNN, "Rat-eating macaques could boost palm oil sustainability in Malaysia," 22 Oct. 2019 His speech at Georgetown University was maligned by critics who said the company has failed to curb the spread of disinformation. San Diego Union-Tribune, "New Facebook oversight board results to be public, exec says," 18 Oct. 2019 Kansas City went three-and-out on its next possession, and a defense that has been maligned for most of Andy Reid’s tenure with the Chiefs failed to make a stop once again. BostonGlobe.com, "Most read on BostonGlobe.com," 14 Oct. 2019 Kansas City went three-and-out on its next possession, and a defense that has been maligned for most of Andy Reid’s tenure with Kansas City failed to make a stop once again. oregonlive, "Deshaun Watson outduels Patrick Mahomes as the Houston Texans defeat Kansas City: Recap, score, stats and more," 13 Oct. 2019 But spare a thought for the Brazilian, who's always been unfairly maligned at Stamford Bridge, and backed up his wonderful goal against Lille with a masterful piece of orchestration at Southampton. SI.com, "90min's Definitive European Player Power Rankings: Week 8 Succession Special," 7 Oct. 2019 None of this dismisses the unpleasantness of being criticized by former neighbors or maligned by figures in the Irish establishment. Ian Parker, The New Yorker, "Edna O’Brien Is Still Writing About Women on the Run," 7 Oct. 2019

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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Statistics for malign

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Malign.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/malign. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for malign

malign

adjective
How to pronounce malign (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on malign

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for malign

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with malign

Spanish Central: Translation of malign

Nglish: Translation of malign for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of malign for Arabic Speakers

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