What does evil mean?

Definitions for evil
ˈi vəlevil

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word evil.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. evil, immorality, wickedness, iniquity(noun)

    morally objectionable behavior

  2. evil(noun)

    that which causes harm or destruction or misfortune

    "the evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones"- Shakespeare

  3. evil, evilness(adj)

    the quality of being morally wrong in principle or practice

    "attempts to explain the origin of evil in the world"

  4. evil(adj)

    morally bad or wrong

    "evil purposes"; "an evil influence"; "evil deeds"

  5. evil, vicious(adj)

    having the nature of vice

  6. malefic, malevolent, malign, evil(adj)

    having or exerting a malignant influence

    "malevolent stars"; "a malefic force"


  1. evil(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.

    The evils of society include murder.

  2. evil(Noun)

    Any particular individual or state which may follow these forces or behaviors.

  3. evil(Adjective)

    Intending to harm; malevolent.

  4. evil(Adjective)

    Morally corrupt.

  5. evil(Adjective)


  6. Origin: yfel, from ubilaz (compare East Frisian eeuwel, Dutch euvel, German übel), from *hupélos, diminutive of hu̯op 'treat badly' (compare huwappi 'to mistreat, harass', huwappa 'evil, badness').

Webster Dictionary

  1. Evil(adj)

    having qualities tending to injury and mischief; having a nature or properties which tend to badness; mischievous; not good; worthless or deleterious; poor; as, an evil beast; and evil plant; an evil crop

  2. Evil(adj)

    having or exhibiting bad moral qualities; morally corrupt; wicked; wrong; vicious; as, evil conduct, thoughts, heart, words, and the like

  3. Evil(adj)

    producing or threatening sorrow, distress, injury, or calamity; unpropitious; calamitous; as, evil tidings; evil arrows; evil days

  4. Evil(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

  5. Evil(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

  6. Evil(noun)

    malady or disease; especially in the phrase king's evil, the scrofula

  7. Evil(adverb)

    in an evil manner; not well; ill; badly; unhappily; injuriously; unkindly


  1. Evil

    Evil is profound immorality. In certain religious contexts evil has been described as a supernatural force. Definitions of evil vary, as does the analysis of its root motives and causes. However elements that are commonly associated with evil involve unbalanced behavior involving expediency, selfishness, ignorance, or neglect. In cultures with Manichaean and Abrahamic religious influence, evil is usually perceived as the dualistic antagonistic opposite of good, in which good should prevail and evil should be defeated. In cultures with Buddhist spiritual influence, both good and evil are perceived as part of an antagonistic duality that itself must be overcome through achieving Śūnyatā meaning emptiness in the sense of recognition of good and evil being two opposing principles but not a reality, emptying the duality of them, and achieving a oneness. The philosophical question of whether morality is absolute or relative leads to questions about the nature of evil, with views falling into one of four opposed camps: moral absolutism, amoralism, moral relativism, and moral universalism. While the term is applied to events and conditions without agency, the forms of evil addressed in this article presume an evildoer or doers.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Evil

    ē′vl, adj. wicked: mischievous: disagreeable: unfortunate.—adv. in an evil manner: badly.—n. that which produces unhappiness or calamity: harm: wickedness: depravity: sin.—ns. E′vil-do′er, one who does evil; E′vil-eye, a supposed power to cause evil or harm by the look of the eye.—adj. E′vil-fā′voured, having a repulsive appearance: ugly.—n. E′vil-fā′vouredness (B.), ugliness: deformity.—adv. E′villy, in an evil manner: not well.—adj. E′vil-mind′ed, inclined to evil: malicious: wicked.—ns. E′vilness, state of being evil: wickedness; E′vil-speak′ing, the speaking of evil: slander.—adj. E′vil-starred (Tenn.), born under the influence of an unpropitious star, unfortunate.—n. E′vil-work′er, one who works or does evil.—The Evil One, the devil.—Speak evil of, to slander. [A.S. yfel; Dut. euvel; Ger. übel. Ill is a doublet.]

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. evil

    As used by hackers, implies that some system, program, person, or institution is sufficiently maldesigned as to be not worth the bother of dealing with. Unlike the adjectives in the cretinous/losing/brain-damaged series, evil does not imply incompetence or bad design, but rather a set of goals or design criteria fatally incompatible with the speaker's. This usage is more an esthetic and engineering judgment than a moral one in the mainstream sense. “We thought about adding a Blue Glue interface but decided it was too evil to deal with.” “TECO is neat, but it can be pretty evil if you're prone to typos.” Often pronounced with the first syllable lengthened, as /eeee'vil/. Compare evil and rude.

Suggested Resources

  1. evil

    Song lyrics by evil -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by evil on the Lyrics.com website.

  2. EVIL

    What does EVIL stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the EVIL acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'evil' in Nouns Frequency: #2193

  2. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'evil' in Adjectives Frequency: #749

Anagrams for evil »

  1. Levi, live, veil, vile, vlei

  2. Levi

  3. Veil

  4. Vile

  5. Vlei

How to pronounce evil?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say evil in sign language?

  1. evil


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of evil in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of evil in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of evil in a Sentence

  1. Warren St. John:

    Our guy is not evil.

  2. Aristotle:

    Evil draws men together.

  3. Sophocles:

    The end excuses any evil.

  4. King Edward the Third:

    Evil to him who evil thinks.

  5. Friedrich Nietzsche:

    Thinking evil is making evil.

Images & Illustrations of evil

  1. evilevilevilevilevil

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for evil

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"evil." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 17 Jul 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/evil>.

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