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
He is befriended by acrobatic worms and warbling flowers, and threatened by a coterie of mice and their nefarious king.
But of course there's a nefarious explanation too: the alt-right, so enraged by the swelling diversity of the Star Wars cast, orchestrated a campaign of negative reviews to own the libs.
Or was Japan the victim of a nefarious lie, as Shintaro Ishihara, a former governor of Tokyo, has long insisted?
Ah, but fate and an especially nasty terrorist named Hans Gruber (the late great Alan Rickman) has far more nefarious things in mind.
Jha, 21, allegedly monetized the botnet by demanding ransom to call off the attacks, using it to inflate the number of advertising clicks on websites, and renting it out to other hackers for their own nefarious ends.
Turns out Old Clove was one of the very guys Papadopoulos reached out to in his nefarious quest to broker a relationship between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
Would Apple use the information for such nefarious purposes?
Using the power of distraction and musical anticipation, Pumpkins bested a trio of adolescent bullies disguised as the nefarious Raincoat Man.
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
Seen and Heard
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