extremely wicked or villainous; iniquitous: a nefarious plot.

Nearby words

  1. neep,
  2. neese,
  3. neet,
  4. nef,
  5. nefandous,
  6. nefariously,
  7. nefazodone,
  8. nefertem,
  9. nefertiti,
  10. nefretete

Origin of nefarious

1595–1605; < Latin nefārius wicked, vile, equivalent to nefās offense against divine or moral law (ne- negative prefix + fās law, right) + -ius -ious, with intervocalic s > r

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nefariousness

  • Mary gratified her eager mind by careful studies in this chosen line of nefariousness.

    Within the Law|Marvin Dana
  • The nefariousness of the scheme thus revealed infuriated Barmouth.

  • There was a nefariousness about the new suggestion that proved very attractive in Blentmouth.

    Tristram of Blent|Anthony Hope

British Dictionary definitions for nefariousness



evil; wicked; sinful
Derived Formsnefariously, adverbnefariousness, noun

Word Origin for nefarious

C17: from Latin nefārius, from nefās unlawful deed, from not + fās divine law

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 nefariousness



c.1600, from Latin nefarius "wicked, abominable, impious," from nefas "crime, wrong, impiety," from ne- "not" (see un-) + fas "right, lawful, divinely spoken," related to fari "to speak" (see fame (n.)). Related: Nefariously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper