Dictionary.com

sinister

[ sin-uh-ster ]
/ ˈsɪn ə stər /
Save This Word!

adjective
threatening or portending evil, harm, or trouble; ominous: a sinister remark.
bad, evil, base, or wicked; fell:his sinister purposes.
unfortunate; disastrous; unfavorable: a sinister accident.
of or on the left side; left.
Heraldry. noting the side of an escutcheon or achievement of arms that is to the left of the bearer (opposed to dexter).
QUIZ
ARE YOU A TRUE BLUE CHAMPION OF THESE "BLUE" SYNONYMS?
We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.
Question 1 of 8
Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of sinister

1375–1425; late Middle English <Latin: on the left hand or side, hence unfavorable, injurious

OTHER WORDS FROM sinister

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use sinister in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sinister

sinister
/ (ˈsɪnɪstə) /

adjective
threatening or suggesting evil or harm; ominousa sinister glance
evil or treacherous, esp in a mysterious way
(usually postpositive) heraldry of, on, or starting from the left side from the bearer's point of view and therefore on the spectator's right
archaic located on the left side
archaic (of signs, omens, etc) unfavourable
Compare dexter 1

Derived forms of sinister

sinisterly, adverbsinisterness, noun

Word Origin for sinister

C15: from Latin sinister on the left-hand side, considered by Roman augurs to be the unlucky one
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

Medical definitions for sinister

sinister
[ sĭnĭ-stər ]

adj.
Presaging trouble; ominous.
On the left side; left.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
FEEDBACK