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
That these people, who are doing this nefarious activity, also have wives and children.
When Baltimore area detectives found an unauthorized magnetic GPS tracker attached to a suspect’s Jeep, the discovery unraveled a web of nefarious police activity.
The outstanding cast includes John Cassavetes as Rosemary's husband, Ralph Bellamy and Ruth Gordon in an Oscar-winning turn as the seemingly sweet but nefarious neighbor.
For the rest, Mr Orban can fall back on his familiar bogeymen: Mr Soros and an assortment of nefarious foreigners.
Even the pastor starts up a Guns for God program, supposedly to help people out with a little cash, but with much more nefarious intent.
Advocates noted that payday loans were cheaper and less nefarious than credit cards and pawn shops, two other types of short-term credit.
Make cash obsolete and those nefarious activities get much more difficult.
Plus, there’s Donald Trump, who worked with all these people, and all of whom had strong incentives to keep him apprised of their nefarious work on his behalf.
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.
chaste, immaculate, incorruptible, innocent, inoffensive, irreproachable, lily-white, perfect, pure, spotless, squeaky-clean, uncorrupted, unerring, unfallen, unobjectionable, venerable, white, wholesome;
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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