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 After all, not all online automated accounts are malign; some are simply news or information dissemination services, while others are created by artists. Renee Diresta, WIRED, "A New Law Makes Bots Identify Themselves—That's the Problem," 24 July 2019 Among the things that cyber officials are discussing are operations that expose adversaries' malign behavior. Author: Ellen Nakashima, Anchorage Daily News, "U.S. CyberCom contemplates information warfare to counter Russian interference in 2020 election," 26 Dec. 2019 That would leave Minerva with some $4 million that Congress earmarked in the past two spending bills for research relating to foreign malign influences and, specifically, potential threats from China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Budget cut threatens novel social science research program at Department of Defense," 26 Feb. 2020 The question has never been whether Soleimani was a malign influence, but whether his assassination was a wise or proportionate response. CNN, "The US spent trillions trying to remake the Middle East. Trump's strike may have undone it all," 6 Jan. 2020 Trump, putting his personal stamp on the event, has used it to praise his accomplishments, malign his enemies, and thank God for being on his side. Diane Winston, The Conversation, "National Prayer Breakfast was a moment for leaders to show humility – Trump changed it," 7 Feb. 2020 Brown is a malign presence throughout the book, a skulking, constantly aggrieved figure who abuses Houston physically and emotionally, and impregnates another woman during their courtship. Allison Stewart, Washington Post, "Robyn Crawford exposes the villains in Whitney Houston’s transcendent, tragic life," 12 Nov. 2019 In withdrawing from the deal last year, Trump pointed to the accord not limiting Iran's ballistic missile program and not addressing what American officials describe as Tehran's malign influence across the wider Middle East. Jon Gambrell, chicagotribune.com, "2 oil tankers damaged in apparent attacks off the coast of Iran," 13 June 2019 The department routinely monitors Twitter traffic worldwide with an eye toward malign activities, like the proliferation of fake pages and user accounts or content that targets the public with divisive messages. Lara Jakes, New York Times, "As Protests in South America Surged, So Did Russian Trolls on Twitter, U.S. Finds," 19 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For now, perhaps the clearest impact has simply been a shift in the public’s attitude toward government institutions, which have been much maligned in recent decades. John Mccormick, WSJ, "Coronavirus Means the Era of Big Government Is…Back," 26 Apr. 2020 The devastation was worst of all in the plots closed off to scavengers, whose presence—though oft maligned—actually helps redistribute and process decaying material away from single sites. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "To Study Mass Die-Offs, Scientists Dumped 15 Tons of Feral Pig Carcasses Into a Field," 23 Jan. 2020 It was already maligned, and now the entire curtain wall — all 10,334 glass panels — had to be replaced. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, "Architect of Fountain Place who shaped Dallas, dies at 93," 5 Mar. 2020 And yet our industries are still discriminated against, maligned and decried as dead. USA TODAY, "Jornada del Muerto, Livestrong rebrand, Mach 8 tunnel: News from around our 50 states," 12 Feb. 2020 Amy, though, has long been maligned by Little Women readers. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "Greta Gerwig’s Little Women Gives Amy March Her Due," 23 Dec. 2019 The two have been maligned for each of the past two seasons for having near bottom-of-the-league save percentages. Ross Mckeon, SFChronicle.com, "‘Time for a new voice’ — Sharks’ Joe Thornton after Peter DeBoer firing," 12 Dec. 2019 Pork is both simply misunderstood and easily maligned when subject to heat. Bill St. John, The Denver Post, "Get Cooking: Colombian Exchange — The pig," 23 Oct. 2019 The only person that might come out of this deal with his reputation more unfairly maligned than Graterol is Bloom, thrust into a bubbling cauldron of crises and agendas in his first months on the job. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Spring training will offer a welcome diversion after the Red Sox’ offseason of discontent," 9 Feb. 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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Learn More about malign

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

3 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Malign.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/malign. Accessed 26 May. 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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