Synonym Chooser

How is the word sinister different from other adjectives like it?

The words baleful and malign are common synonyms of sinister. While all three words 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

When is it sensible to use baleful instead of sinister?

The synonyms baleful and sinister are sometimes interchangeable, but baleful imputes perniciousness or destructiveness to something whether working openly or covertly.

exerting a corrupt and baleful influence

When would malign be a good substitute for sinister?

The words malign and sinister are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, malign applies to what is inherently evil or harmful.

the malign effects of racism

Thesaurus Entries Near sinister

Cite this Entry

“Sinister.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on sinister

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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