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[muh-lef-uh-suh ns]
See more synonyms for maleficence on Thesaurus.com
  1. the doing of evil or harm: the maleficence of thieves.
  2. the quality or state of being maleficent or harmful.
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Origin of maleficence

From the Latin word maleficentia, dating back to 1590–1600. See malefic, -ence
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for maleficence

Historical Examples

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

    Diderot and the Encyclopdists

    John Morley

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

    Thus Spake Zarathustra

    Friedrich Nietzsche

  • 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.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper