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A stereotypical evil man. This is an artistic representation of the purposely distinctive visage of villains, initially from the stage plays of the 1880s.


From Middle English evel, ivel, uvel, from Old English yfel, from Proto-Germanic *ubilaz (compare Saterland Frisian eeuwel, Dutch euvel, Low German övel, German übel), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂upélos, diminutive of *h₂wep-, *h₂wap- (treat badly) (compare Hittite [script needed] (huwappi, to mistreat, harass), [script needed] (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).


  • enPR: ē-vəl, ē-vĭl, IPA(key): /ˈiːvɪl/, /ˈiːvəl/
  • Hyphenation: evil
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːvəl


evil (comparative eviller or eviler or more evil, superlative evillest or evilest or most evil)

  1. Intending to harm; malevolent.
    Do you think that companies that engage in animal testing are evil?
  2. Morally corrupt.
    an evil plot to kill innocent people
    • Shakespeare
      Ah, what a sign it is of evil life, / When death's approach is seen so terrible.
  3. Unpleasant, as in 'an evil smell'. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  4. Producing or threatening sorrow, distress, injury, or calamity; unpropitious; calamitous.
    • Bible, Deuteronomy xxii. 19
      He hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel.
    • Shakespeare
      The owl shrieked at thy birth — an evil sign.
    • Milton
      Evil news rides post, while good news baits.
  5. (obsolete) Having harmful qualities; not good; worthless or deleterious.
    an evil beast; an evil plant; an evil crop
    • Bible, Matthew vii. 18
      A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit.
  6. (computing, programming, slang) undesirable; harmful; bad practice
    Global variables are evil; storing processing context in object member variables allows those objects to be reused in a much more flexible way.


The terms below need to be checked and allocated to the definitions (senses) of the headword above. Each term should appear in the sense for which it is appropriate. Use the templates {{syn|en|...}} or {{ant|en|...}} to add them to the appropriate sense(s).


Derived termsEdit



Wikipedia has an article on:

evil (countable and uncountable, plural evils)

  1. Moral badness; wickedness; malevolence; the forces or behaviors that are the opposite or enemy of good.
    • Bible, Ecclesiastes. ix. 3
      The heart of the sons of men is full of evil.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 16, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      The preposterous altruism too! [] Resist not evil. It is an insane immolation of self—as bad intrinsically as fakirs stabbing themselves or anchorites warping their spines in caves scarcely large enough for a fair-sized dog.
    The evils of society include murder and theft.
    Evil lacks spirituality, hence its need for mind control.
  2. 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.
  3. (obsolete) A malady or disease; especially in the phrase king's evil (scrofula).
    • (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
    • Addison
      He [Edward the Confessor] was the first that touched for the evil.


Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.