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 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 My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. Hal Boedeker, orlandosentinel.com, "Mattis: Trump ‘an unusual president,’ but ‘we’ve got to be careful’," 30 Aug. 2019 From the 1970s onwards the malign era of Transaction Man begins, in which financial deregulation and more assertive owners see big firms broken up and managers take a more ruthless view of social obligations. The Economist, "Nicholas Lemann traces the history of American corporations," 14 Sep. 2019 Meanwhile, China and Russia have denied the U.S. accusations of malign actions and intentions. CBS News, "Defense Secretary Mark Esper cautions allies against cozying up to China," 6 Sep. 2019 So this season continues Brady’s malign influence and presence. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Brendan Gleeson on the Mr. Mercedes season 3 premiere and what's next for Bill Hodges," 11 Sep. 2019 Mr Chakravarty alleges a second malign motive behind the anti-corruption campaign. The Economist, "The Indian government’s anti-corruption campaign revs up," 29 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Kirk Cousins, much maligned for going 8-7-1 in his first year with the team, finished 10th in yards and ninth in touchdowns. Brandon Niles, Sports Illustrated, "Nick Foles Still a Fantasy Question Mark in His Eighth Season," 13 May 2019 Once maligned for being too fatty during the low-fat craze; these days, at the height of the low-carb diet trend the starchy root vegetables are just too carb-y. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "I'm Just Gonna Say It: Veggie Chips Are No More or Less Healthy Than Regular Chips," 12 Sep. 2019 Now 86 and a professor emeritus, Zimbardo argues—in a statement published last year that runs almost 7,000 words—that he has been maligned and misunderstood, a victim of his celebrity. Noam Cohen, WIRED, "Beware the Epiphany-Industrial Complex," 19 Aug. 2019 Bradley Wright-Phillips scored two more goals, while Alex Muyl, much maligned for his early-season play, delivered what may wind up being the assist of the season with this gorgeous long ball forward for BWP. Avi Creditor, SI.com, "The MLS XI, Week 4: Another Red Bulls Stampede, LA Braces for Zlatan," 26 Mar. 2018 No writer outside the Communist Party has so continuously maligned the West and justified the Soviet Union. David Pryce-jones, National Review, "The Cold War of Words," 22 Aug. 2019 The same is true of Beltran, who is a deserving first-ballot choice but spent his entire career being undervalued and occasionally maligned by writers and fans alike. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "Baseball Hall of Fame Inductions Are Heading for a Bleak Period," 19 July 2019 The Hugo win is a huge validation for many fanfic authors — many of whom are used to being dismissed and culturally maligned — that all of their non-professional works are worthy of respect. Aja Romano, Vox, "4.7 million fanfics are now Hugo winners, thanks to AO3 and the transformative culture that built it.," 19 Aug. 2019 The Fort Worth City Council on Tuesday voted to remove an official from the city's Human Rights Commission over a series of bigoted social media posts that maligned immigrants, transgender people and Muslims. Arnessa Garrett, Dallas News, "Bonnen apologizes but faces investigation, Trump lights up Joaquin Castro, Paxton joins sick leave lawsuit," 8 Aug. 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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Statistics for malign

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

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
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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