Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Morally bad or wrong; wicked.
  • adjective Causing ruin, injury, or pain; harmful.
  • adjective Characterized by or indicating future misfortune; ominous.
  • adjective Bad or blameworthy by report; infamous.
  • adjective Characterized by anger or spite; malicious.
  • noun The quality of being morally bad or wrong; wickedness.
  • noun That which causes harm, misfortune, or destruction.
  • noun An evil force, power, or personification.
  • noun Something that is a cause or source of suffering, injury, or destruction.
  • adverb In an evil manner.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Injuriously.
  • Not happily; unfortunately.
  • Not virtuously; not innocently.
  • Not well; ill.
  • compar. usually worse, superl. worst (see bad), or more evil, most evil (rarely eviler, evilest).
  • Having harmful qualities or characteristics; productive of or attended by harm or injury; hurtful to the body, mind, or feelings; effecting mischief, trouble, or pain; bad: as, an evil genius; evil laws.
  • Proceeding from a desire to injure; hostile.
  • Contrary to an accepted standard of right or righteousness; inconsistent with or violating the moral law; bad; sinful; wicked: as, evil deeds; an evil heart.
  • Proceeding from, due to, or purporting to be due to immorality or badness of conduct or character.
  • 3 and Bad, vile, base, vicious, wicked, iniquitous.
  • noun Anything that causes injury, as to the body, mind, or feelings; anything that harms or is likely to harm.
  • noun A malady or disease: as, the king's evil (which see, below).
  • noun Conduct contrary to the standard of morals or righteousness, or a disposition toward such conduct; violation of the moral law; harmful intention or purpose.
  • noun A harmful or wrong deed.
  • noun A fork; a hayfork.
  • noun A halter.
  • To fall ill or sick.

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

  • adverb In an evil manner; not well; ill; badly; unhappily; injuriously; unkindly.
  • noun Anything which impairs the happiness of a being or deprives a being of any good; anything which causes suffering of any kind to sentient beings; injury; mischief; harm; -- opposed to good.
  • noun Moral badness, or the deviation of a moral being from the principles of virtue imposed by conscience, or by the will of the Supreme Being, or by the principles of a lawful human authority; disposition to do wrong; moral offence; wickedness; depravity.
  • noun rare malady or disease; especially in the phrase king's evil, the scrofula.
  • adjective Having qualities tending to injury and mischief; having a nature or properties which tend to badness; mischievous; not good; worthless or deleterious; poor
  • adjective Having or exhibiting bad moral qualities; morally corrupt; wicked; wrong; vicious.
  • adjective Producing or threatening sorrow, distress, injury, or calamity; unpropitious; calamitous
  • adjective an eye which inflicts injury by some magical or fascinating influence. It is still believed by the ignorant and superstitious that some persons have the supernatural power of injuring by a look.
  • adjective speaking ill of others; calumny; censoriousness.
  • adjective the Devil; Satan.

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

  • adjective Intending to harm; malevolent.
  • adjective Morally corrupt.
  • adjective Unpleasant.
  • adjective computing, programming, slang undesirable; harmful; bad practice
  • noun The forces/behaviors that are the opposite or enemy of good. Evil generally seeks own benefit at the expense of others and is based on general malevolence.
  • noun Any particular individual or state which may follow these forces or behaviors.

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

  • noun morally objectionable behavior
  • noun the quality of being morally wrong in principle or practice
  • adjective having the nature of vice
  • noun that which causes harm or destruction or misfortune
  • adjective having or exerting a malignant influence
  • adjective morally bad or wrong

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English yfel; see wap- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English yfel, from Proto-Germanic *ubilaz (compare East Frisian eeuwel, Dutch euvel, German übel), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂upélos, diminutive of *h₂wep- (“treat badly”) (compare Hittite huwappi 'to mistreat, harass', huwappa 'evil, badness')., or alternatively from *upélos (“evil”, literally "going over or beyond (acceptable limits)"), from Proto-Indo-European *upo, *up, *eup (“down, up, over”).

Examples

  • -- _God Almighty was all justice and equity: whoever labored unto good experienced good in himself; and he who toiled unto evil experienced evil_.

    The Persian Literature, Comprising The Shah Nameh, The Rubaiyat, The Divan, and The Gulistan, Volume 2

  • I as a theologian blame nothing but the evil appearance, of which St. Paul says, “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (I Thess.v. 22).

    Articles 19-27. Twenty-Seven Articles Respecting the Reformation of the Christian Estate

  • "Why do you think evil in your hearts?" he said, that is, _evil of me -- that I am a blasphemer_.

    Miracles of Our Lord

  • How is it possible that they pursue moral evil merely _as moral evil_, and yet pursue it as the greatest apparent good?

    A Theodicy, or, Vindication of the Divine Glory

  • "_Resolved_, That the people of Ohio now, as they have always done, look upon slavery as an evil, and unfavorable to the development of the spirit and practical benefits of free institutions; and that, entertaining these sentiments, they will at all times feel it to be their duty to use all power clearly given by the terms of the national compact, to prevent its increase, to mitigate, _and finally eradicate the evil_."

    Americanism Contrasted with Foreignism, Romanism, and Bogus Democracy in the Light of Reason, History, and Scripture; In which Certain Demagogues in Tennessee, and Elsewhere, are Shown Up in Their True Colors

  • (see § 278) as, -- sit fūr, sit sacrilegus, at est bonus imperātor, _granted that he is a thief and a robber, yet he is a good commander_; haec sint falsa, _granted that this is false_; nē sit summum malum dolor, malum certē est, _granted that pain is not the greatest evil, yet it is certainly an evil_.

    New Latin Grammar

  • For all you chaps that replied to my comment below, thanks but i also agree with Mr. S. Ross when he said that we as citizens get together and practice more vigilance and report to the local authorities, and not be like the three wise monkies See no evil * hear no evil * say no evil* thats all in the past we are now looking into the future for the sake of all our Maltese citizens and no doubt although we are a small country but roar like a lion.

    timesofmalta.com

  • For all you chaps that replied to my comment below, thanks but i also agree with Mr. S. Ross when he said that we as citizens get together and practice more vigilance and report to the local authorities, and not be like the three wise monkies See no evil * hear no evil * say no evil* thats all in the past we are now looking into the future for the sake of all our Maltese citizens and no doubt although we are a small country but roar like a lion.

    timesofmalta.com

  • Taking an event that's been traditionally celebrated mainly by children and morphing it into a vehicle for boosting alcohol consumption brings new meaning to the term "evil spirits."

    Jeffrey Shaffer: The Ghosts of Halloween Past

  • But how many times have you used the word evil to describe the untold suffering the Church imposes on impoverished families denied contraception; or the lies told to protect belief; or the propaganda that turns resource wars into holy wars; or the specter of kind-faced volunteers threatening kindergarteners with hell?

    Valerie Tarico: Should Freethinkers Shun Or Claim The Language Of Spirituality?

Comments

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  • October 22, 2007

  • Live in reverse.

    November 3, 2007

  • I feel guilty for thinking this word is incredibly sexy and has good mouthfeel. It tastes all slithery.

    August 19, 2008

  • In church we pronounce it along the lines of "e vill."

    August 19, 2008

  • Every Villan Is Lemons

    May 21, 2009

  • haha. Compare the two pronunciations!

    November 20, 2009