ill will

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun ill will differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of ill will are grudge, malevolence, malice, malignity, spite, and spleen. While all these words mean "the desire to see another experience pain, injury, or distress," ill will implies a feeling of antipathy of limited duration.

ill will provoked by a careless remark

Where would grudge be a reasonable alternative to ill will?

Although the words grudge and ill will have much in common, grudge implies a harbored feeling of resentment or ill will that seeks satisfaction.

never one to harbor a grudge

When is malevolence a more appropriate choice than ill will?

The synonyms malevolence and ill will are sometimes interchangeable, but malevolence suggests a bitter persistent hatred that is likely to be expressed in malicious conduct.

a look of dark malevolence

When is it sensible to use malice instead of ill will?

While the synonyms malice and ill will are close in meaning, malice implies a deep-seated often unexplainable desire to see another suffer.

felt no malice toward their former enemies

When would malignity be a good substitute for ill will?

The words malignity and ill will are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, malignity implies deep passion and relentlessness.

a life consumed by motiveless malignity

When can spite be used instead of ill will?

In some situations, the words spite and ill will are roughly equivalent. However, spite implies petty feelings of envy and resentment that are often expressed in small harassments.

petty insults inspired by spite

When might spleen be a better fit than ill will?

The meanings of spleen and ill will largely overlap; however, spleen suggests the wrathful release of latent spite or persistent malice.

venting his spleen against politicians

Thesaurus Entries Near ill will

Cite this Entry

“Ill will.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

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