sinister

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adjective sin·is·ter \ˈsi-nəs-tər, archaic sə-ˈnis-\

Definition of sinister

  1. 1 archaic :  unfavorable, unlucky

  2. 2 archaic :  fraudulent

  3. 3 :  singularly evil or productive of evil

  4. 4a :  of, relating to, or situated to the left or on the left side of something; especially :  being or relating to the side of a heraldic shield at the left of the person bearing itb :  of ill omen by reason of being on the left

  5. 5 :  presaging ill fortune or trouble

  6. 6 :  accompanied by or leading to disaster

sinisterly

adverb

sinisterness

noun

Examples of sinister in a sentence

  1. There was something sinister about him.

  2. <the movie relies too much on sinister background music to create the suspense that the plot sorely lacks>

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

Middle English sinistre, from Anglo-French senestre on the left, from Latin sinistr-, sinister on the left side, unlucky, inauspicious


First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of sinister

sinister, baleful, malign mean seriously threatening evil or disaster. sinister suggests a general or vague feeling of fear or apprehension on the part of the observer <a sinister aura haunts the place>. baleful imputes perniciousness or destructiveness to something whether working openly or covertly <exerting a corrupt and baleful influence>. malign applies to what is inherently evil or harmful <the malign effects of racism>.

SINISTER Defined for English Language Learners

sinister

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adjective sin·is·ter \ˈsi-nəs-tər, archaic sə-ˈnis-\

Definition of sinister for English Language Learners

  • : having an evil appearance : looking likely to cause something bad, harmful, or dangerous to happen


SINISTER Defined for Kids

sinister

play
adjective sin·is·ter \ˈsi-nəs-tər\

Definition of sinister for Students

  1. 1 :  threatening evil, harm, or danger <We heard sinister rumors.>

  2. 2 :  1evil 1, corrupt <We feared he would do something far more sinister.>



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