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

Related Words for evilness

iniquity, turpitude, depravity

Examples from the Web for evilness

Contemporary Examples of evilness

Historical Examples of evilness

  • And they say that the evilness of money hath made all things dearer.

  • He couldn't tell her of the dissipation he had seen in her brother's face, nor of the evilness that had been stamped there.

    Square Deal Sanderson

    Charles Alden Seltzer

  • At last the evilness of these thoughts was plain to me; so quickly I cast the dagger overboard, and it was gone.

    Wulfric the Weapon Thane

    Charles W. Whistler

  • Considered in the light of his evilness, the unanimous conclusion was that he had killed Timothy Brown.

    The Faith of Men

    Jack London

  • Verily there is no worm-kind nor wild beast-kind like in evilness to an evil woman.

British Dictionary definitions for evilness



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 evilness



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