malice

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun malice differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of malice are grudge, ill will, malevolence, malignity, spite, and spleen. While all these words mean "the desire to see another experience pain, injury, or distress," malice implies a deep-seated often unexplainable desire to see another suffer.

felt no malice toward their former enemies

When is grudge a more appropriate choice than malice?

Although the words grudge and malice 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 it sensible to use ill will instead of malice?

In some situations, the words ill will and malice are roughly equivalent. However, ill will implies a feeling of antipathy of limited duration.

ill will provoked by a careless remark

Where would malevolence be a reasonable alternative to malice?

The words malevolence and malice are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, malevolence suggests a bitter persistent hatred that is likely to be expressed in malicious conduct.

a look of dark malevolence

In what contexts can malignity take the place of malice?

The words malignity and malice can be used in similar contexts, but malignity implies deep passion and relentlessness.

a life consumed by motiveless malignity

When would spite be a good substitute for malice?

The synonyms spite and malice are sometimes interchangeable, but 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 malice?

While the synonyms spleen and malice are close in meaning, spleen suggests the wrathful release of latent spite or persistent malice.

venting his spleen against politicians

Thesaurus Entries Near malice

Cite this Entry

“Malice.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/malice. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on malice

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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