Examples of pernicious in a sentence
The notion that poll data are a legitimate form of news has to be one of the most pernicious tenets of late-twentieth-century American journalism … —Barbara Ehrenreich, Nation, 20 Nov. 1995
The more it [the Papacy] took part in the temporal conflicts with consistently pernicious result, the more impotent among the monarchs it revealed itself … —Barbara W. Tuchman, The March of Folly, 1984
At its most pernicious, paper entrepreneurialism involves little more than imposing losses on others for the sake of short-term profits for the firm. —Robert B. Reich, Atlantic, March 1983
More pernicious still has been the acceptance of the author's controversial ideas by the general public.
the pernicious effects of jealousy
She thinks television has a pernicious influence on our children.
insidious, sinister, or pernicious?
Few would choose to be associated with people or things that are insidious, sinister, or pernicious; all three of these words have decidedly unpleasant meanings, each with its own particular shade of nastiness.
Insidious comes from a Latin word for “ambush” (insidiae), which is fitting, as this word often carries the meanings “deceitful,” “stealthy,” or “harmful in an imperceptible fashion.” The first two meanings may be applied to people or things (“an insidious enemy,” “an insidious plot”), while the last is usually applied to things (“insidious problems,” “insidious sexism”), in particular to the gradual progress of a disease (“an insidious malignancy”).
Sinister comes from a Latin word meaning “on the left side, unlucky, inauspicious.” Although it is commonly used today in the sense “evil” (“a sinister cult leader”; “a sinister plot”), it may also suggest an ominous foreshadowing of some unfavorable turn of events (“a sinister omen”).
Pernicious has largely stayed true to its etymological root, the Latin noun pernicies “ruin, destruction.” Its original meaning in English, “highly injurious or destructive,” usually applies to things (“pernicious apathy,” “pernicious effects”) and medical conditions (“pernicious fever,” pernicious anemia). When applied to people, pernicious means “wicked.”
Origin and Etymology of pernicious
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin perniciosus, from pernicies destruction, from per- + nec-, nex violent death — more at noxious
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of pernicious
PERNICIOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of pernicious for English Language Learners
: causing great harm or damage often in a way that is not easily seen or noticed
PERNICIOUS Defined for Kids
Definition of pernicious for Students
: causing great damage or harm a pernicious disease a pernicious habit
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