Synonym Chooser

How does the noun malevolence differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of malevolence are grudge, ill will, malice, malignity, spite, and spleen. While all these words mean "the desire to see another experience pain, injury, or distress," malevolence suggests a bitter persistent hatred that is likely to be expressed in malicious conduct.

a look of dark malevolence

When is grudge a more appropriate choice than malevolence?

While in some cases nearly identical to malevolence, grudge implies a harbored feeling of resentment or ill will that seeks satisfaction.

never one to harbor a grudge

When would ill will be a good substitute for malevolence?

The words ill will and malevolence are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, ill will implies a feeling of antipathy of limited duration.

ill will provoked by a careless remark

When is it sensible to use malice instead of malevolence?

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

felt no malice toward their former enemies

When could malignity be used to replace malevolence?

The meanings of malignity and malevolence largely overlap; however, malignity implies deep passion and relentlessness.

a life consumed by motiveless malignity

Where would spite be a reasonable alternative to malevolence?

In some situations, the words spite and malevolence 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 malevolence?

The synonyms spleen and malevolence are sometimes interchangeable, but spleen suggests the wrathful release of latent spite or persistent malice.

venting his spleen against politicians

Thesaurus Entries Near malevolence

Cite this Entry

“Malevolence.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

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