• synonyms


or di·a·bol·i·cal

[dahy-uh-bol-ik or dahy-uh-bol-i-kuh l]
See more synonyms for diabolic on Thesaurus.com
  1. having the qualities of a devil; devilish; fiendish; outrageously wicked: a diabolic plot.
  2. pertaining to or actuated by a devil.
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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. 2018

Related Words for diabolical

vile, fiendish, vicious, heinous, cruel, hellish, wicked, evil, infernal, satanic, serpentine, demoniac

Examples from the Web for diabolical

Contemporary Examples of diabolical

Historical Examples of diabolical

  • I didn't know there was any one living who could be so cruel, so cold, so diabolical.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • That face, now ashy white, was distorted into a diabolical grin.

  • And let me know your progress with Lovelace, and what he says to this diabolical curse.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • The cat looked at him with great round eyes that were diabolical in their fixedness.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • It appears that one of these diabolical insects had got into my blankets.

British Dictionary definitions for diabolical


adjective informal
  1. excruciatingly bad; outrageous
  2. (intensifier)a diabolical liberty
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Derived Formsdiabolically, adverbdiabolicalness, noun


  1. of, relating to, or proceeding from the devil; satanic
  2. befitting a devil; extremely cruel or wicked; fiendish
  3. very difficult or unpleasant
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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 diabolical


c.1500, "pertaining to the devil," from diabolic + -al (1). Meaning "befitting the devil" is from 1540s. Related: Diabolically.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper