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


    the evil one, the devil; Satan.

Origin of evil

before 900; Middle English evel, evil, Old English yfel; cognate with Gothic ubils, Old High German ubil, German übel, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch evel
Related formse·vil·ly, adverbe·vil·ness, nounnon·e·vil, adjectivenon·e·vil·ly, adverbnon·e·vil·ness, nounqua·si-e·vil, adjectivequa·si-e·vil·ly, adverbun·e·vil, adjectiveun·e·vil·ly, adverb

Synonyms for evil

Synonym study

1. See bad1.

Antonyms for evil

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for evilly

Historical Examples of evilly

  • He laughed at this—but evilly, and no further word could I get out of either of them.

    A Frontier Mystery

    Bertram Mitford

  • How evilly could Life desert a man and kill him with loneliness.

  • Seeing himself so evilly entreated, Ulenspiegel played him different tricks and this among them.

    The Legend of Ulenspiegel

    Charles de Coster

  • There is no reason why children should be taught to look on step-mothers in general as evilly disposed persons.

  • The damsel was evilly clad in rags, and seemed like a scullion-maid.

British Dictionary definitions for evilly



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
Derived Formsevilly, adverbevilness, noun

Word Origin for evil

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



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.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper