nefarious was our Word of the Day on 09/20/2016. Hear the podcast!
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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
Recent Examples of nefarious from the Web
As Ernesto, Kevin Piaskowski is furtively funny as the Norwegian (maybe) busboy with a nefarious secret.
Gallegos didn’t dispute that emails were deleted, but denied there was anything nefarious about it.
And if Bran knows all the nefarious deeds Littlefinger's had his hands in — murdering Lysa, kissing Sansa, etc.
But the posh summer getaway is reportedly stepping up their security in the event of more nefarious occurrences.
Ethicists have long feared that such gene-editing technology could be used for nefarious or questionable purposes.
That questionable phrasing was immediately seized on by the far right and spun as an act of nefarious misconduct, with the hashtag #CNNBlackmail.
Investigators now say the hack may be far more nefarious than previously thought.
Helbig Mercy Street Theatre Company’s final show of its third season puts the focus squarely on Luz Estrada (Valeria Rosero), an aspiring lawyer turned sheriff whose family is killed by a nefarious Mexican drug cartel.
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.
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.
Synonymsblack, dark, evil, immoral, iniquitous, bad, rotten, sinful, unethical, unlawful, unrighteous, unsavory, vicious, vile, villainous, wicked, wrong
Antonymsdecent, ethical, good, honest, honorable, just, moral, right, righteous, sublime, upright, virtuous
Related Wordsbase, contemptible, despicable, dirty, disreputable, evil-minded, ignoble, ill, infernal, low, mean, snide, sordid; atrocious, cruel, infamous, nasty; blamable, blameworthy, censurable, objectionable, obscene, offensive, reprehensible; corrupt, debased, debauched, degenerate, depraved, dissolute, libertine, loose, low-minded, perverted, reprobate, scrofulous, sick, unhealthy; cursed (also curst), cussed, defiling, noxious, pernicious, pestilential, ugly, ungodly, unwholesome; banned, barred, condemned, discouraged, forbidden, illegal, interdicted, outlawed, prohibited, proscribed, unauthorized, unclean; disallowed; execrable, lousy, miserable, wretched; errant, erring, fallen, unprincipled, unscrupulous; improper, incorrect, indecent, indecorous, naughty, unbecoming, unseemly, vulgar; dishonest, dishonorable
Near Antonymselevated, high, high-minded, law-abiding, legitimate, lofty, noble, principled, reputable, scrupulous; allowed, authorized, legal, licensed, permissible, permitted; approved, endorsed (also indorsed), sanctioned; abetted, encouraged, promoted, supported; clean, correct, decent, decorous, exemplary, proper, seemly; blameless, commendable, creditable, guiltless, legitimate; chaste, immaculate, incorruptible, innocent, inoffensive, irreproachable, lily-white, perfect, pure, spotless, squeaky-clean, uncorrupted, unerring, unfallen, unobjectionable, venerable, white, wholesome; esteemed, respected, upstanding, worthy
Synonym Discussion of nefarious
- a vicious gangster
- a villainous assault
- an iniquitous system of taxation
- the nefarious rackets of organized crime
- city hall was rife with corrupt politicians
- a degenerate regime propped up by foreign powers
NEFARIOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of nefarious for English Language Learners
: evil or immoral
Seen and Heard
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