or di·a·bol·i·cal

[dahy-uh-bol-ik or dahy-uh-bol-i-kuh l]


having the qualities of a devil; devilish; fiendish; outrageously wicked: a diabolic plot.
pertaining to or actuated by a devil.

Origin of diabolic

1350–1400; Middle English diabolik (< Middle French) < Late Latin diabolicus < Greek diabolikós, equivalent to diábol(os) devil + -ikos -ic
Related formsdi·a·bol·i·cal·ly, adverbdi·a·bol·i·cal·ness, nounhy·per·di·a·bol·i·cal, adjectivehy·per·di·a·bol·i·cal·ly, adverbhy·per·di·a·bol·i·cal·ness, nounnon·di·a·bol·ic, adjectivenon·di·a·bol·i·cal, adjectivenon·di·a·bol·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·di·a·bol·i·cal·ness, nounsu·per·di·a·bol·i·cal, adjectivesu·per·di·a·bol·i·cal·ly, adverbsu·per·di·a·bol·i·cal·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for diabolic

Historical Examples of diabolic

  • What diabolic jugglery was at work when the exchange was made?

  • Everybody watched with wonder this play, as of some large and diabolic toy.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • The table seemed to wake to diabolic energy under her palms.

    The Shadow World

    Hamlin Garland

  • Understand, I do not say that it was not spiritual or diabolic.

  • He had charmed her from her home by the exercise of diabolic arts.

    A Black Adonis

    Linn Boyd Porter

British Dictionary definitions for diabolic



of, relating to, or proceeding from the devil; satanic
befitting a devil; extremely cruel or wicked; fiendish
very difficult or unpleasant
Derived Formsdiabolically, adverbdiabolicalness, noun

Word Origin for diabolic

C14: from Late Latin diabolicus, from Greek diabolikos, from diabolos devil
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for diabolic

late 14c., from Old French diabolique (13c.), from Late Latin diabolicus, from Ecclesiastical Greek diabolikos "devilish," from diabolos (see devil (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper