[ muh-lev-uh-luh nt ]
/ məˈlɛv ə lənt /


wishing evil or harm to another or others; showing ill will; ill-disposed; malicious: His failures made him malevolent toward those who were successful.
evil; harmful; injurious: a malevolent inclination to destroy the happiness of others.
Astrology. evil or malign in influence.

Nearby words

  1. malenkov,
  2. malentendu,
  3. maleruption,
  4. malevich,
  5. malevolence,
  6. malevolently,
  7. malfeasance,
  8. malformation,
  9. malformed,
  10. malfunction

Origin of malevolent

1500–10; < Latin malevolent- (stem of malevolēns) ill-disposed, spiteful, equivalent to male- male- + volent- (stem of volēns), present participle of velle to want, wish for, desire (see will1, -ent)

Related formsma·lev·o·lent·ly, adverbun·ma·lev·o·lent, adjectiveun·ma·lev·o·lent·ly, adverb

Can be confusedmaleficent malevolent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for malevolent

British Dictionary definitions for malevolent


/ (məˈlɛvələnt) /


wishing or appearing to wish evil to others; malicious
astrology having an evil influence
Derived Formsmalevolence, nounmalevolently, adverb

Word Origin for malevolent

C16: from Latin malevolens, from male ill + volens, present participle of velle to wish

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 malevolent



c.1500, from Middle French malivolent and directly from Latin malevolentem (nominative malevolens) "ill-disposed, spiteful, envious," from male "badly" (see mal-) + volentem (nominative volens), present participle of velle "to wish" (see will (v.)). Related: Malevolently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper