nefarious

adjective
ne·​far·​i·​ous | \ ni-ˈfer-ē-əs How to pronounce nefarious (audio) \

Definition of nefarious

: flagrantly wicked or impious : evil

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Other Words from nefarious

nefariously adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for nefarious

vicious, villainous, iniquitous, nefarious, corrupt, degenerate mean highly reprehensible or offensive in character, nature, or conduct. vicious may directly oppose virtuous in implying moral depravity, or may connote malignancy, cruelty, or destructive violence. a vicious gangster villainous applies to any evil, depraved, or vile conduct or characteristic. a villainous assault iniquitous implies absence of all signs of justice or fairness. an iniquitous system of taxation nefarious suggests flagrant breaching of time-honored laws and traditions of conduct. the nefarious rackets of organized crime corrupt stresses a loss of moral integrity or probity causing betrayal of principle or sworn obligations. city hall was rife with corrupt politicians degenerate suggests having sunk to an especially vicious or enervated condition. a degenerate regime propped up by foreign powers

What Is the Difference Between vicious, villainous, and nefarious?

Vicious and villainous are two wicked synonyms of nefarious, and, like nefarious, both mean "highly reprehensible or offensive in character, nature, or conduct." But these synonyms are not used in exactly the same way in all situations. Vicious may imply moral depravity or it may connote malignancy, cruelty, or destructive violence. Villainous applies to any evil, depraved, or vile conduct or characteristic, while nefarious (which derives from the Latin noun nefas, meaning "crime") suggests flagrant breaching of time-honored laws and traditions of conduct.

Examples of nefarious in a Sentence

Moreover, those starry-eyed states inclined to perceive international relations in moral terms frequently underestimate the nefarious machinations of their competitors on the world political stage. — Richard Wolin, New Republic, 4 June 2001 … I always give the same response: Just because Frank posed for pictures with every leading capo, underboss and cement contractor of the day doesn't mean that he joined them in their nefarious underworld activities. Oh, occasionally he rode along on a hit or two, but that was just one of those social obligations … — Lewis Grossberger, Time, 21 Dec. 1998 Three-tenths of a mile uphill from our mailbox on the road, that bend is so nefarious that neophytes often skidded into a snowbank or wound up fender-deep in mud there. — Maxine Kumin, In Deep, 1987 a nefarious scheme to cheat people out of their money the chaste heroines and nefarious villains of old-time melodramas
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Recent Examples on the Web Of course, every superhero show needs its villain and that's where the enigmatic Maya (Lost in Space's Sibongile Mlambo), who is up to something nefarious in the Akashic Valley, comes in. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, 12 Apr. 2021 Plus, Hugh Grant, as Thorpe, beautifully turns his charm into something nefarious, and Ben Whishaw is perfectly cracked as his victim. BostonGlobe.com, 16 Apr. 2021 The show never fully explains if there was something nefarious going on. Neha Prakash, Marie Claire, 12 Mar. 2021 Among other claims, Ramsland was repeating the ominous idea that election software used in the United States originated in Venezuela and saying nefarious actors could surreptitiously manipulate votes on a massive scale. Anchorage Daily News, 10 May 2021 Among other claims, Ramsland was repeating the ominous idea that election software used in the United States originated in Venezuela and saying nefarious actors could surreptitiously manipulate votes on a massive scale. Washington Post, 9 May 2021 Some said Distrokid’s standard practice of offering International Sound Recording Codes (ISRCs) to those who need them was somehow nefarious and intended to wrest control of recordings from artists. Bill Hochberg, Forbes, 1 Mar. 2021 The 2020 election failed on all those counts in many states, without anything nefarious necessarily going on. Ilya Shapiro, Washington Examiner, 22 Apr. 2021 This has raised concerns that the new Act will encourage money launderers to use these pools of assets for nefarious purposes. The Insider, Forbes, 19 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nefarious.' 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 nefarious

circa 1609, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nefarious

Latin nefarius, from nefas crime, from ne- not + fas right, divine law; perhaps akin to Greek themis law, tithenai to place — more at do

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The first known use of nefarious was circa 1609

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Last Updated

11 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nefarious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nefarious. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for nefarious

nefarious

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of nefarious

formal : evil or immoral

More from Merriam-Webster on nefarious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nefarious

Nglish: Translation of nefarious for Spanish Speakers

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