See more synonyms for evil on Thesaurus.com
  1. morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds; an evil life.
  2. harmful; injurious: evil laws.
  3. characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous: to be fallen on evil days.
  4. due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character: an evil reputation.
  5. 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.
  3. the wicked or immoral part of someone or something: The evil in his nature has destroyed the good.
  4. harm; mischief; misfortune: to wish one evil.
  5. anything causing injury or harm: Tobacco is considered by some to be an evil.
  6. a harmful aspect, effect, or consequence: the evils of alcohol.
  7. a disease, as king's evil.
  1. in an evil manner; badly; ill: It went evil with him.
  1. 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

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com

Synonym study

1. See bad1.

Antonyms for evil

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for evilly

Historical Examples of evilly

  • He owes naught to me since I used him so evilly, and therefore I may not ask his aid.'

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

  • She stared down at it fiercely, evilly, like a witch planning an enchantment.

    No Great Magic

    Fritz Reuter Leiber

  • "It is ever well to help the helpless," said Hunding evilly.

    The Valkyries

    Edward Frederic Benson

  • It was no longer smooth-shaven, and it was changed, evilly changed.

    Satan Sanderson

    Hallie Erminie Rives

British Dictionary definitions for evilly


  1. morally wrong or bad; wickedan evil ruler
  2. causing harm or injury; harmfulan evil plan
  3. marked or accompanied by misfortune; unluckyan evil fate
  4. (of temper, disposition, etc) characterized by anger or spite
  5. not in high esteem; infamousan evil reputation
  6. offensive or unpleasantan evil smell
  7. slang good; excellent
  1. the quality or an instance of being morally wrong; wickednessthe evils of war
  2. (sometimes capital) a force or power that brings about wickedness or harmevil is strong in the world
  3. archaic an illness or disease, esp scrofula (the king's evil)
  1. (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