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
Oldman is delightfully sinister in this adaptation of Brom Stoker’s seminal novel.
Or evidence of something more sinister—a critical chapter in the president’s long history of suspicious business deals with Russian and post-Soviet oligarchs?
Before the wheelchair, before the numbness in his calf had turned into something sinister, Kevin Massey had played basketball and run cross country at Franklin Central.
Sharp power wraps all that up in something altogether more sinister.
But in reality, the explanations were far less sinister.
Cedric Berry is suavely sinister as the Secret Policeman.
Get Out is the awards-buzzy film about a black man who meets his white girlfriend's family, and learns there's something sinister going on during his visit.
If that isn't ominous enough, toward the end of the song, Swift gets gleefully sinister.
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
black, bleak, cheerless, chill, cold, comfortless, dark, darkening, depressing, depressive, desolate, dim, disconsolate, dismal, drear, dreary, forlorn, funereal, gloomy, glum, godforsaken, gray (also grey), lonely, lonesome, lugubrious, miserable, morbid, morose, murky, saturnine, sepulchral, somber (or sombre), sullen, wretched;
Synonym Discussion of sinister
- a sinister aura haunts the place
- exerting a corrupt and baleful influence
- the malign effects of racism
SINISTER Defined for English Language Learners
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