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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce malevolent (audio)

Dictionary definition of malevolent

Having or showing a desire to cause harm or evil to others.
"Her words were laced with malevolent intent."

Detailed meaning of malevolent

It can also refer to something that is harmful or evil in nature. A person or thing that is malevolent is often characterized as malicious, spiteful, or hostile towards others. This type of behavior can be intentional or unintentional, but it is always harmful to those who are on the receiving end. Malevolent actions can range from simple pranks to violent crimes, and the impact they have on their victims can be devastating. A person who is malevolent may be viewed as someone to be avoided or feared, as their intentions are often unpredictable and dangerous.

Example sentences containing malevolent

1. The malevolent villain plotted to overthrow the kingdom and seize power.
2. They could feel the malevolent presence lurking in the abandoned house.
3. The malevolent intent behind their actions was evident in their ruthless behavior.
4. His malevolent gaze sent chills down their spines, revealing his sinister nature.
5. The malevolent force unleashed chaos and destruction upon the unsuspecting town.
6. They uncovered the malevolent plot to sabotage their rival's business.

History and etymology of malevolent

The adjective 'malevolent' has its etymological roots in the Latin word 'malevolens,' which can be dissected into 'male,' meaning 'ill' or 'badly,' and 'volens,' the present participle of 'velle,' which means 'to wish' or 'to want.' In Latin, 'malevolens' denoted someone with a strong desire to wish harm or evil upon others. Over time, this term made its way into English as 'malevolent,' retaining its core meaning of having or showing a desire to cause harm or evil to others. The etymology of 'malevolent' underscores its connection to ill-wishing or harboring malicious intentions, making it a suitable descriptor for individuals or entities with harmful or evil inclinations.

Quiz: Find the meaning of malevolent

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Further usage examples of malevolent

1. The malevolent spirit haunted the old graveyard, preying on the living.
2. Her malevolent laughter echoed through the halls, striking fear into the hearts of all who heard it.
3. The malevolent witch cast spells to bring misery and suffering to her enemies.
4. They confronted the malevolent creature, determined to put an end to its reign of terror.
5. The malevolent intent behind the anonymous threats left them feeling vulnerable and afraid.
6. The malevolent aura surrounding the cursed artifact radiated darkness and despair.
7. They discovered the malevolent nature of their supposed ally, betrayed by their hidden agenda.
8. The malevolent dictator ruled with an iron fist, suppressing freedom and causing suffering.
9. The malevolent eyes of the creature glowed with an otherworldly malice.
10. They could sense the malevolent energy emanating from the forbidden chamber.
11. The malevolent scheme aimed to dismantle the peace treaty and spark conflict.
12. The malevolent whispers in their minds planted seeds of doubt and discord.
13. They escaped the clutches of the malevolent kidnappers, vowing to bring them to justice.
14. The malevolent actions of the corporation caused irreparable harm to the environment.



malicious, benevolent, kind, charitable


Prefix mal-, GRE 10 (Graduate Record Examination), Conduct and Character, Conflict and Disagreement, Chaos and Conflict, Fear and Ferocity, Dominance and Supremacy, Emotional Intensity and Reactions, Hostility and Brutality, Hostility and Opposition

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