- morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds; an evil life.
- harmful; injurious: evil laws.
- characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous: to be fallen on evil days.
- due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character: an evil reputation.
- marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc.: He is known for his evil disposition.
- that which is evil; evil quality, intention, or conduct: to choose the lesser of two evils.
- the force in nature that governs and gives rise to wickedness and sin.
- the wicked or immoral part of someone or something: The evil in his nature has destroyed the good.
- harm; mischief; misfortune: to wish one evil.
- anything causing injury or harm: Tobacco is considered by some to be an evil.
- a harmful aspect, effect, or consequence: the evils of alcohol.
- a disease, as king's evil.
- in an evil manner; badly; ill: It went evil with him.
- the evil one, the devil; Satan.
Origin of evil
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for evil
But along with the cartoon funk is an all-too-real story of police brutality embodied by a horde of evil Pigs.‘Black Dynamite’ Presents Police Brutality: The Musical
January 9, 2015
One wonders if his subsequent battles with the “Evil Empire” were animated by this belief.The Evangelical Apocalypse Is All Your Fault
January 4, 2015
Luke Skywalker is an evil robot who has fallen to the dark side of the force.Juiciest ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Rumors (and Some Debunked Ones)
January 3, 2015
It is all too easy to be despondent in the face of what seems like the endless capacity of evil to reinvent itself.The Catholic Philosopher Who Took on Hitler
John Henry Crosby
December 26, 2014
The teachers union looms large in this book, often as an evil force.Your Local School Doesn’t Have to Suck
Michael S. Roth
December 17, 2014
"His countenance and his voice troubled me, like the presence of evil," answered Philothea.
The best doctrines become the worst, when they are used for evil purposes.
I should be b-a-d, and I should sit up nights to invent new ways of evil.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
From evil—physical, moral, and political—it is not our claim to be exempt.
But the evil has come with the good, and much fine gold has been corroded.
- morally wrong or bad; wickedan evil ruler
- causing harm or injury; harmfulan evil plan
- marked or accompanied by misfortune; unluckyan evil fate
- (of temper, disposition, etc) characterized by anger or spite
- not in high esteem; infamousan evil reputation
- offensive or unpleasantan evil smell
- slang good; excellent
- the quality or an instance of being morally wrong; wickednessthe evils of war
- (sometimes capital) a force or power that brings about wickedness or harmevil is strong in the world
- archaic an illness or disease, esp scrofula (the king's evil)
- (now usually in combination) in an evil manner; badlyevil-smelling
Word Origin and History for evil
Old English yfel (Kentish evel) "bad, vicious, ill, wicked," from Proto-Germanic *ubilaz (cf. Old Saxon ubil, Old Frisian and Middle Dutch evel, Dutch euvel, Old High German ubil, German übel, Gothic ubils), from PIE *upelo-, from root *wap- (cf. Hittite huwapp- "evil").
"In OE., as in all the other early Teut. langs., exc. Scandinavian, this word is the most comprehensive adjectival expression of disapproval, dislike or disparagement" [OED]. Evil was the word the Anglo-Saxons used where we would use bad, cruel, unskillful, defective (adj.), or harm, crime, misfortune, disease (n.). The meaning "extreme moral wickedness" was in Old English, but did not become the main sense until 18c. Related: Evilly. Evil eye (Latin oculus malus) was Old English eage yfel. Evilchild is attested as an English surname from 13c.
Old English yfel (see evil (adj.)).