[ ee-vuhl ]
See synonyms for: evilevilsevillyevilness on Thesaurus.com

  1. morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds;an evil life.

  2. harmful; detrimental: evil laws.

  1. characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous: to be fallen on evil days.

  2. due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character: an evil reputation.

  3. marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc.: He is known for his evil disposition.

  1. that which is evil; evil quality, intention, or conduct: to choose the lesser of two evils.

  2. the force in nature that governs and gives rise to wickedness and sin.

  1. the wicked or immoral part of someone or something: The evil in his nature has destroyed the good.

  2. harm; mischief; misfortune: to wish one evil.

  3. anything causing injury or harm:Tobacco is considered by some to be an evil.

  4. a harmful aspect, effect, or consequence: the evils of alcohol.

  5. a disease, as king's evil.

  1. in an evil manner; badly; ill: It went evil with him.

Idioms about evil

  1. the evil one, the devil; Satan.

Origin of evil

First recorded before 900; Middle English evel, evil, Old English yfel; cognate with Gothic ubils, Old High German ubil, German übel, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch evel

Other words for evil

Opposites for evil

Other words from evil

  • e·vil·ly, adverb
  • e·vil·ness, noun
  • non·e·vil, adjective
  • non·e·vil·ly, adverb
  • non·e·vil·ness, noun
  • quasi-evil, adjective
  • qua·si-e·vil·ly, adverb
  • un·e·vil, adjective
  • un·e·vil·ly, adverb

Words Nearby evil

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use evil in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for evil


/ (ˈiːvəl) /

  1. morally wrong or bad; wicked: an evil ruler

  2. causing harm or injury; harmful: an evil plan

  1. marked or accompanied by misfortune; unlucky: an evil fate

  2. (of temper, disposition, etc) characterized by anger or spite

  3. not in high esteem; infamous: an evil reputation

  4. offensive or unpleasant: an evil smell

  5. slang good; excellent

  1. the quality or an instance of being morally wrong; wickedness: the evils of war

  2. (sometimes capital) a force or power that brings about wickedness or harm: evil is strong in the world

  1. archaic an illness or disease, esp scrofula (the king's evil)

  1. (now usually in combination) in an evil manner; badly: evil-smelling

Origin of evil

Old English yfel, of Germanic origin; compare Old Frisian evel, Old High German ubil evil, Old Irish adbal excessive

Derived forms of evil

  • evilly, adverb
  • evilness, noun

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