[muh-lef-uh-suh ns]


the doing of evil or harm: the maleficence of thieves.
the quality or state of being maleficent or harmful.

Nearby words

  1. maleducation,
  2. malefaction,
  3. malefactor,
  4. malefactress,
  5. malefic,
  6. maleficent,
  7. malegaon,
  8. maleic acid,
  9. maleic anhydride,
  10. maleic hydrazide

Origin of maleficence

From the Latin word maleficentia, dating back to 1590–1600. See malefic, -ence Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for maleficence

  • At which date the little dog, my love, assumes the roll of maleficence towards the aged.

  • Healthful influences and magical charms avert it; hence Lug, a beneficent god, destroys Balor's maleficence.

  • We must transform it into beneficence, and its opposite into the idea of maleficence.

  • In all their lamentations soundeth vengeance, in all their eulogies is maleficence; and being judge seemeth to them bliss.

    Thus Spake Zarathustra|Friedrich Nietzsche

Word Origin and History for maleficence



1590s, from Middle French maleficence or directly from Latin maleficentia "evildoing, mischievousness, injury," from maleficus "wicked" (see malefic). Now largely displaced by malfeasance.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper