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

And nobody wants Iran to continue malign or nefarious behavior in the region or in the world, or human-rights abuses, or its state sponsorship of terrorism. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "The Dangers of Trump’s Approach to Iran," 19 June 2019 That’s nothing compared to battling bots launched by sophisticated and deep-pocketed nefarious actors bent on destroying democratic hegemony, particularly in an environment where even the truth has been politicized. Jeff Berman, Vox, "Big Tech needs regulation, but DC must go to school before it goes to work," 14 June 2019 Among them were Grint and Felton, who played loveable red-head Ron Weasley and nefarious moody Draco Malfoy, respectively. Alison Wild, EW.com, "Harry Potter stars Rupert Grint and Tom Felton on if — and how — they'd return to the wizarding world," 13 June 2019 In this case, the exhibit has the best of intentions and the permission of the Dalí Foundation in Spain, but this same technology can be used for much more nefarious purposes. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Meet Salvador Dali. Or at Least, a Very Convincing Fake," 10 May 2019 There’s nothing inherently nefarious about the models. Nitasha Tiku, WIRED, "The WIRED Guide to Internet Addiction," 18 Apr. 2018 McCabe’s defenders in law enforcement say that there was nothing nefarious going on — officials were pursuing a careful process of determining whether the emails might be relevant, and that took time. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: State of the Union underscores why Trump is his own worst enemy," 31 Jan. 2018 Since May, the Saudi government has arrested at least a dozen women’s rights advocates, accusing them of nefarious contacts with foreign parties and branding them traitors in the press. Kareem Fahim, Washington Post, "Meet the Saudi women who advocated for the right to drive — and are paying dearly for it," 23 June 2018 Since May, the Saudi government has arrested at least a dozen women's rights advocates, accusing them of nefarious contacts with foreign parties and branding them traitors in the press. Kareem Fahim, chicagotribune.com, "Meet the Saudi women who advocated for the right to drive — and are paying dearly for it," 23 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near nefarious

neeze

nef

nefandous

nefarious

nefariousness

nefast

neffy

Statistics for nefarious

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for nefarious

The first known use of nefarious was circa 1609

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More Definitions for nefarious

nefarious

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of nefarious

formal : evil or immoral

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More from Merriam-Webster on nefarious

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nefarious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nefarious

Spanish Central: Translation of nefarious

Nglish: Translation of nefarious for Spanish Speakers

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