- disposed to cause harm, suffering, or distress deliberately; feeling or showing ill will or hatred.
- very dangerous or harmful in influence or effect.
- tending to produce death, as bubonic plague.
- (of a tumor) characterized by uncontrolled growth; cancerous, invasive, or metastatic.
Origin of malignant
Synonyms for malignant
Antonyms for malignant
- having or showing desire to harm others
- tending to cause great harm; injurious
- pathol (of a tumour) uncontrollable or resistant to therapy; rapidly spreading
- history (in the English Civil War) a Parliamentarian term for a royalist (def. 1)
Word Origin for malignant
1560s, in reference to diseases, from Middle French malignant and directly from Late Latin malignantem (nominative malignans) "acting from malice," present participle of malignare "injure maliciously" (see malign (v.)). Earlier in the church malignant "followers of the antichrist," from Latin ecclesiam malignantum in early Church writing, applied by Protestant writers to the Church in Rome (1540s). As an adjective, Middle English used simple malign (early 14c.). Related: Malignantly.
- Threatening to life, as a disease; virulent.
- Tending to metastasize; cancerous. Used of a tumor.
- Tending to have a destructive clinical course, as a malignant illness.
- Relating to cancer cells that are invasive and tend to metastasize. Malignant tumor cells are histologically more primitive than normal tissue. Compare benign.
A descriptive term for things or conditions that threaten life or well-being. Malignant is the opposite of benign.