Thesaurus

ill will

noun

Synonyms & Antonyms of ill will

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About ill will

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ill will

Time Traveler for ill will

Time Traveler

The first known use of ill will was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Ill will.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/ill%20will. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on ill will

Dictionary: Definition of ill will

Nglish: Translation of ill will for Spanish Speakers

Comments on ill will

What made you want to look up ill will? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!