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How to pronounce sinister (audio)


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Dictionary definition of sinister

Having an eerie, threatening, or evil quality, often associated with a sense of foreboding or darkness.
"The sinister tone of his voice made me suspect that he was up to no good."

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Detailed meaning of sinister

When an object, person, or situation is described as 'sinister,' it conveys the impression that there is something hidden or malevolent about it, causing suspicion or fear. This term is frequently used to characterize things that seem to be aligned with wickedness or harmful intentions, and it can be applied to a wide range of contexts, from a person's demeanor or a place's atmosphere to an event's underlying motives. 'Sinister' evokes a sense of unease and suggests that there may be hidden dangers or evil forces at play, making it a word often used to describe elements that elicit feelings of caution or apprehension.

Example sentences containing sinister

1. The old abandoned house had a sinister feel to it.
2. The sinister grin on his face made me feel uneasy.
3. The villain in the movie had a sinister plan to take over the world.
4. The ominous clouds in the sky looked quite sinister.
5. The way he looked at me with those sinister eyes sent shivers down my spine.
6. The eerie silence in the forest had a sinister quality to it.

History and etymology of sinister

The etymology of the adjective 'sinister' is indeed intriguing and reveals how language can be influenced by cultural beliefs. It all begins with the Latin word 'sinister,' which primarily meant 'left' or 'left-handed.' In ancient times, particularly in Roman culture, being left-handed was viewed as unconventional and even ill-omened. This perception stemmed from the belief that left-handedness was somehow associated with the unnatural or the unfavorable. Consequently, the word 'sinister' started to carry these negative connotations, signifying something that was seen as inauspicious or adverse. With the passage of time, these negative associations deepened, leading 'sinister' to describe anything possessing an eerie, menacing, or malevolent quality, often evoking a sense of foreboding or darkness. The etymology of 'sinister' serves as a vivid illustration of how societal superstitions and cultural norms can shape the meanings of words, turning a seemingly innocuous term like 'left' into a word laden with sinister and ominous implications.

Quiz: Find the meaning of sinister

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Further usage examples of sinister

1. I felt a sinister presence lurking in the shadows.
2. The sinister plot of the novel kept me on the edge of my seat.
3. The painting had a sinister vibe to it that made me feel uncomfortable.
4. The sinister reputation of the old castle kept visitors away.
5. The sinister rumors about the new boss made the employees nervous.
6. The sinister figure haunted her dreams, leaving her with a constant sense of unease.
7. The ominous storm clouds had a sinister, foreboding quality, signaling an approaching tempest.
8. His sinister plan involved manipulating the vulnerable to achieve his dark objectives.
9. The sinister laughter of the villain echoed through the abandoned, desolate building.
10. The old, decaying mansion had a sinister charm, attracting those intrigued by its history.
11. She couldn't shake the feeling that the eerie, sinister forest held secrets best left undiscovered.
12. The sinister mask concealed his true identity, adding an air of mystery to the masquerade.
13. The sinister aura surrounding the mysterious artifact hinted at its otherworldly powers.
14. The sinister plot of the thriller novel kept readers on the edge of their seats.
15. The sinister message, written in blood-red ink, sent a chill down her spine.
16. The sinister presence in the room became palpable, filling the air with dread.
17. The old, abandoned asylum had a sinister history of unspeakable horrors.
18. The sinister music score created a tense atmosphere in the suspenseful movie.
19. The sinister shadowy figure cast an eerie silhouette against the moonlit night.
20. Her sinister smile concealed a malevolent intent that sent shivers down spines.
21. The sinister secrets buried beneath the surface of the town were finally revealed.
22. The sinister undertone of his words hinted at a deeper, unsettling truth.
23. The sinister-looking artifact was said to hold a curse that brought misfortune.
24. The sinister atmosphere of the crime scene left detectives with a sense of foreboding.
25. The sinister aura surrounding the haunted house deterred even the bravest souls.



ominous, benign, harmless, auspicious


Conduct and Character, Conflict and Disagreement, Fear and Ferocity, Hostility and Opposition

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