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

There was power in reclaiming words once used to malign. Nathan Rizzo | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive.com, "‘Slanted’ tells the story of Portland Asian American band’s fight to keep its name," 9 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Coca-Cola executives and some outside experts say the company has been unfairly maligned for the water shortages. Oscar Lopez, BostonGlobe.com, "In Mexican town, Coca-Cola is everywhere, and so is diabetes," 14 July 2018 Still, most criticisms of the President by elites like Comey merely serve to solidify the views of his supporters that he is being unfairly maligned. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Trump now faces Comey's moral assault," 16 Apr. 2018 After glass block began turning up in public restrooms, municipal swimming pools and diners in the 1980s, it was maligned as retrograde and even sleazy. Karen Bruno And, WSJ, "Glass Block in Décor: Cheesy or Charming?," 7 Feb. 2019 Still the busiest shopping day of the year for stores, Black Friday — often maligned, and sometimes brutal — is not for the faint of heart. Rachel Sugar, Vox, "Don’t get the allure of Black Friday? A mother-daughter shopping duo explains," 21 Nov. 2018 Last year, Yankees skipper Joe Girardi was maligned after failing to ask for a review when the plate ump incorrectly awarded Cleveland a hit by pitch. Jake Seiner, The Seattle Times, "Before things get wild, the MLB postseason from A to Z," 1 Oct. 2018 Though oft-maligned, there's no denying their convenience. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "How to Doctor Up an Instant Oatmeal Packet to Make a Delicious and Filling Breakfast, According to R.D.s," 3 Feb. 2019 Republicans railed against maligning a man never convicted of a crime. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Brett Kavanaugh Has Been Confirmed to the Supreme Court," 6 Oct. 2018 After touring with the national company of Wicked for a year, Vosk recently made her debut as the green-skinned, maligned-but-misunderstood Elphaba in the Broadway production. Liz Cantrell, Town & Country, "On Her Debut Album, Wicked Star Jessica Vosk is "Wild and Free"," 1 Aug. 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

15 Jun 2019

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)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with malign

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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