- disposed to cause harm, suffering, or distress deliberately; feeling or showing ill will or hatred.
- very dangerous or harmful in influence or effect.
- tending to produce death, as bubonic plague.
- (of a tumor) characterized by uncontrolled growth; cancerous, invasive, or metastatic.
Origin of malignant
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for malignant
And if trickle-down could start on a dinner napkin, surely the process of reversing its malignant effects can start with a book.Real Vs. Republican Populism: How to Win the War on Inequality
April 16, 2014
Immigration showcases the other malignant GOP tumor: The rage of the base.When Conservatives Cry Wolf
February 10, 2014
Might either of the two bring up the malignant problems experienced by the Eurozone?So, We're Just Going to Ignore Mexico?
October 22, 2012
A few months earlier, he had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.Vicki Kennedy Remembers Ted Kennedy at the DNC
September 5, 2012
The show lacks a tenth of the fizz the malignant but gifted Limbaugh decants every single afternoon.Rush Limbaugh! The Musical
February 3, 2010
The forger smiled, and there was malignant triumph in his expression.Within the Law
The pursuit had a malignant pleasure in it: we knew the men we were driving before us.In the Valley
His malignant and revengeful passions were not so easily laid.Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit
You are a most malignant and dangerous Whig to have so far drawn them from their duty.'Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
Into his snarl he incorporated all that was vicious, malignant, and horrible.White Fang
- having or showing desire to harm others
- tending to cause great harm; injurious
- pathol (of a tumour) uncontrollable or resistant to therapy; rapidly spreading
- history (in the English Civil War) a Parliamentarian term for a royalist (def. 1)
Word Origin and History for malignant
1560s, in reference to diseases, from Middle French malignant and directly from Late Latin malignantem (nominative malignans) "acting from malice," present participle of malignare "injure maliciously" (see malign (v.)). Earlier in the church malignant "followers of the antichrist," from Latin ecclesiam malignantum in early Church writing, applied by Protestant writers to the Church in Rome (1540s). As an adjective, Middle English used simple malign (early 14c.). Related: Malignantly.
- Threatening to life, as a disease; virulent.
- Tending to metastasize; cancerous. Used of a tumor.
- Tending to have a destructive clinical course, as a malignant illness.
- Relating to cancer cells that are invasive and tend to metastasize. Malignant tumor cells are histologically more primitive than normal tissue. Compare benign.
A descriptive term for things or conditions that threaten life or well-being. Malignant is the opposite of benign.