verb (used with object)

to speak harmful untruths about; speak evil of; slander; defame: to malign an honorable man.


evil in effect; pernicious; baleful; injurious: The gloomy house had a malign influence upon her usually good mood.
having or showing an evil disposition; malevolent; malicious.

Origin of malign

1275–1325; Middle English maligne < Middle French < Latin malignus. See mal-, benign
Related formsma·lign·er, nounma·lign·ly, adverbun·ma·ligned, adjective

Synonyms for malign

Antonyms for malign

1. praise. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for maligned

Contemporary Examples of maligned

Historical Examples of maligned

  • The one maligned by the mischievous gossip had been cast off, and alienated.


    Marion Harland

  • The facts can have been scarcely known which were to present Shelley to his imagination as a maligned and persecuted man.

  • In order to save the property he has maligned my mother, and has cheated me and the creditors most horribly—most infernally.

    Mr. Scarborough's Family

    Anthony Trollope

  • Opposite the nervous yet legible scrawl of the noble and maligned Magyar, Landor traced the following answer.

  • Many of St. Mary's parishioners of to-day are descended from these maligned Quakers.

British Dictionary definitions for maligned



evil in influence, intention, or effect


(tr) to slander or defame
Derived Formsmaligner, nounmalignly, adverb

Word Origin for malign

C14: via Old French from Latin malīgnus spiteful, from malus evil
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 maligned



"to slander," mid-15c., from earlier more literal sense of "to plot, to contrive" (early 15c.), from Old French malignier "to plot, deceive, pervert," from Late Latin malignare "to do maliciously," from malignus (see malign (adj.)). Related: Maligned; maligning.



early 14c., from Old French maligne "having an evil nature," from Latin malignus "wicked, bad-natured," from male "badly" (see mal-) + -gnus "born," from gignere "to bear, beget," from PIE root *gn- "to bear" (see genus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper