- 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 evilness
But even more surprising than the evilness of these characters is their outrageous lack of subtlety.‘Sleepy Hollow’ Is TV’s Craziest, Most Over-the-Top New Show ... And You Should Watch It
October 8, 2013
And they say that the evilness of money hath made all things dearer.Sermons on the Card and Other Discourses
He couldn't tell her of the dissipation he had seen in her brother's face, nor of the evilness that had been stamped there.Square Deal Sanderson
Charles Alden Seltzer
At last the evilness of these thoughts was plain to me; so quickly I cast the dagger overboard, and it was gone.Wulfric the Weapon Thane
Charles W. Whistler
Considered in the light of his evilness, the unanimous conclusion was that he had killed Timothy Brown.The Faith of Men
Verily there is no worm-kind nor wild beast-kind like in evilness to an evil woman.
- 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 evilness
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.)).