malign

adjective
ma·​lign | \mə-ˈlīn \

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

My colleagues in the humanities unthinkingly malign STEM in front of me. Barbara Oakley, WSJ, "Why Do Women Shun STEM? It’s Complicated," 13 July 2018 Other reasons for Trump supporters’ willing suspension of disbelief on Russia’s malign intent are unique to Republicans. The Economist, "The Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki," 5 July 2018 His aggressive and malign behavior is really a factor in the world. Fox News, "Trump escalates trade war tensions with tariff threat," 24 June 2018 What is worth pondering is how a demagogue of Hitler’s malign skill might more effectively exploit flaws in American democracy. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "How American Racism Influenced Hitler," 23 Apr. 2018 In a new study, scientists reveal aging to be a process set in motion by the rise of malign forces called senescent cells, which progressively hijack the body and take it on a nightmarish joyride. Melissa Healy, latimes.com, "This drug cocktail reduced signs of age-related diseases and extended life in mice and human cells," 10 July 2018 Of course the fact (is) that so much money has gone to support malign activities elsewhere, with very little focus on the economy itself. Washington Post, "US official links economic protests in Iran to sanctions," 12 July 2018 Ollie’s attorneys contend that this accusation is categorically false and that its public release was designed to malign Ollie’s character and damage his prospects for future employment. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Breaking Down Kevin Ollie's Case Against UConn and the University's Likely Defenses," 29 June 2018 First, the wealth that was created in Iran as a result of the JCPOA drove Iranian malign activity. Fox News, "Secretary Mike Pompeo previews upcoming Trump-Kim summit," 13 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And then there’s CNN, the news network that has been publicly maligned by President Donald Trump and led to speculation that the DOJ’s lawsuit was politically motivated. NBC News, "AT&T's mega-merger creates a content king. But will it wield the power fairly?," 13 June 2018 But Alex Ovechkin, unfairly maligned in the past for the Capitals' playoff disappointments, will score the game winner. USA TODAY, "Stanley Cup 2018: Golden Knights vs. Capitals predictions," 24 May 2018 And that brings us to Tom Cable, much maligned in the Pacific Northwest for his work with the Seahawks’ offensive line. Gary Gramling, SI.com, "It’s Time to Abolish the Rookie Wage Scale, Why the Ravens Desperately Needed Lamar Jackson, and Saquon Barkley is Not Solely a Running Back," 29 Apr. 2018 She should be given credit for that, not maligned for not grabbing the hand when it was presented. Fox News, "Media obsess over Melania's white hat," 25 Apr. 2018 But critics fear the apology and payout may not be enough, pointing out that SPLC has a history of attacking people and maligning their good names than apologizing. Fox News, "Rep. Cuellar on battle over separating families at border," 19 June 2018 The bureau is one of the most politically divisive agencies in Washington, hailed as a regulatory crown jewel by Democrats while maligned by Republicans as a bastion of government overreach and waste. Elizabeth Dexheimer And Margaret Talev, BostonGlobe.com, "Little-known White House aide chosen to lead consumer agency," 16 June 2018 During his rally in Montana earlier tonight, the president discussed just how low the left would go to malign the agenda. Fox News, "Gowdy to Schiff: GOP doesn't give a damn what you think," 6 July 2018 Court documents and social media posts written by Ramos paint a portrait of an angry, frustrated man fuming about how he’d been mistreated and maligned. Washington Post, "Newspaper shooting suspect’s grievances began with classmate," 29 June 2018

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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Last Updated

19 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for malign

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

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More Definitions for malign

malign

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of malign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: causing or intended to cause harm

malign

verb

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

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

malign

adjective
ma·​lign | \mə-ˈlīn \

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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