Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Pertaining to the devil; partaking of the qualities of the devil; devilish; hence, infernal; Impious; atrocious; outrageously wicked: as, a diabolic plot; a diabolical temper.
  • Synonyms See list under devilish.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Pertaining to the devil; resembling, or appropriate, or appropriate to, the devil; befitting hell or satan; devilish; infernal; impious.
  • adjective showing a wicked cunning or ingenuity.
  • adjective extremely evil or cruel; atrocious; outrageously wicked.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Showing wickedness typical of a devil.
  • adjective Extremely evil or cruel.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective showing the cunning or ingenuity or wickedness typical of a devil
  • adjective extremely evil or cruel; expressive of cruelty or befitting hell

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

First attested between 1350 and 1400 from Middle English diabolik, from Middle French diabolique, from Late Latin diabolicus, from Ancient Greek διαβολικός (diabolikos, "devilish"), from διάβολος (diabolos, "devil").

Examples

  • In her presence and before the whole household he repeated his false story, and clung to it with a bitter effrontery that we may well call diabolic, remembering how the nervous terror of punishment and exposure sinks the angel in man.

    Rousseau

  • These examples are but typical of myriads in cathedrals and abbeys and parish churches throughout Europe; and all served to impress upon the popular mind a horror of everything called diabolic, and a hatred of those charged with it.

    A History of the warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom

  • In her presence and before the whole household he repeated his false story, and clung to it with a bitter effrontery that we may well call diabolic, remembering how the nervous terror of punishment and exposure sinks the angel in man.

    Rousseau (Volume 1 and 2)

  • But to accomplish this work, which we may also call diabolic, isn't an androgynous genius necessary?

    Ferragus

  • But to accomplish this work, which we may also call diabolic, isn't an androgynous genius necessary?

    The Thirteen

  • In a very Screwtapian, that is to say diabolic irony, these nobler ideals are often the best disguise for our group selfishness, for we can thereby disguise our primitiveness even from ourselves.

    Assistant Village Idiot

  • My spell checker suggested this should be spelled "diabolic".

    Discourse.net: A Note for my 1L Torts Class

  • The word 'diabolic' itself derives from the Greek word diaballo meaning to "pass beyond" or "over", from the root dia - "through" and, as a causal accusative, "with the aid of".

    The Watcher: The New Zealand Voice of the Left Hand Path #10

  • When we go to war, we have to have an evil enemy, a kind of diabolic enemy.

    Under God: Religion and American Politics

  • That's the kind of diabolic prevarication I like to see my followers use to attack my enemies.) "No doubt some far-left pundits have said far worse things than Ann Coulter will ever say and the mainstream media often celebrates them.

    The Devil's Diary: O'Reilly and liberal "bomb-throwers"

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