Examples of sinister in a Sentence
There was something sinister about him.
the movie relies too much on sinister background music to create the suspense that the plot sorely lacks
Recent Examples of sinister from the Web
Or—as Bourdin himself alleges as his living lie starts to unravel—was something more sinister at work?
The stories of these New Orleans material witnesses, however, reveal something more sinister.
And Davies gives the role a slightly more sinister feeling, as well.
There’s something sinister about them, which is fine.
Plenty of right-wing outlets ran with the report as a sign of sinister collusion between the media and the Democratic Party.
Ominous signs and portents appear, signaled aptly via the sinister sound and lighting effects of SSC’s design team.
In the olden days, demonstrators decked out in black, with masks and clubs, would have been deemed sinister by liberals.
On the heels of that news came a rapid-fire series of revelations that cast the dismissal in lights ranging from sinister to farcical.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sinister.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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.”
Is sinister unfair to the left-handed?
Sinister has an etymology that might seem a bit biased against the left-handed portion of the population, as this word, which has had naught but disagreeable meanings for over five hundred years now, comes from a Latin word of the same spelling that means “on the left side.” We find this root in other English words, such as the adjective sinistral (“left-handed”) and the adverb sinistrad (“toward the left side”). To make things even more unfair, the Latin word dexter (“on the right side”) has given rise to English words with largely positive meanings, such as dexterity and ambidextrous.
Origin and Etymology of sinister
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonymsbaleful, dire, direful, doomy, foreboding, ill, ill-boding, inauspicious, menacing, minatory, portentous, ominous, threatening
Related Wordsblack, bleak, cheerless, chill, Cimmerian, cloudy, cold, comfortless, dark, darkening, depressing, depressive, desolate, dim, disconsolate, dismal, drear, dreary, dreich [chiefly Scottish], elegiac (also elegiacal), forlorn, funereal, gloomy, glum, godforsaken, gray (also grey), lonely, lonesome, lugubrious, miserable, morbid, morose, murky, plutonian, saturnine, sepulchral, somber (or sombre), sullen, sunless, tenebrific, tenebrous, wretched; discouraging, disheartening, hopeless, unfavorable, unpromising, unpropitious; ill-fated, ill-starred, star-crossed, troubled, unfortunate, unlucky; evil, malign, malignant
Near Antonymsauspicious, benign, bright, encouraging, favorable, golden, heartening, hopeful, promising, propitious, prosperous
Synonym Discussion of sinister
- a sinister aura haunts the place
- exerting a corrupt and baleful influence
- the malign effects of racism
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