- full of menacing or malign influences; pernicious.
- Obsolete. wretched; miserable.
Origin of baleful
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for baleful
She will unearth more than their remains in a quest that becomes a journey of baleful discovery and painful self-discovery.Holocaust Horrors Haunt the Films ‘Ida’ And ‘The German Doctor’
May 12, 2014
Of all mortal possessions they are the most useless, mischievous, and baleful.Imogen
THEN the baleful fiend its fire belched out, and bright homes burned.Beowulf
Richard paled under the baronet's baleful, half-sneering glance.Mistress Wilding
Gian Maria returned him no answer, but his baleful eye was upon Martino.Love-at-Arms
As he disappeared her beautiful face darkened with a baleful cloud.Victor's Triumph
Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth
- harmful, menacing, or vindictive
- archaic dejected
Word Origin and History for baleful
Old English bealu-full "dire, wicked, cruel," from bealu "harm, injury, ruin, evil, mischief, wickedness, a noxious thing," from Proto-Germanic *balwom (cf. Old Saxon balu, Old Frisian balu "evil," Old High German balo "destruction," Old Norse bol, Gothic balwjan "to torment"), from PIE root *bheleu- "to beat." During Anglo-Saxon times, the noun was in poetic use only (e.g. bealubenn "mortal wound," bealuðonc "evil thought"), and for long baleful was extinct, but it was revived by modern romantic poets. Related: Balefully.