What does sinister mean?

Definitions for sinister
ˈsɪn ə stərsin·is·ter

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word sinister.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. baleful, forbidding, menacing, minacious, minatory, ominous, sinister, threateningadjective

    threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments

    "a baleful look"; "forbidding thunderclouds"; "his tone became menacing"; "ominous rumblings of discontent"; "sinister storm clouds"; "a sinister smile"; "his threatening behavior"; "ugly black clouds"; "the situation became ugly"

  2. black, dark, sinisteradjective

    stemming from evil characteristics or forces; wicked or dishonorable

    "black deeds"; "a black lie"; "his black heart has concocted yet another black deed"; "Darth Vader of the dark side"; "a dark purpose"; "dark undercurrents of ethnic hostility"; "the scheme of some sinister intelligence bent on punishing him"-Thomas Hardy

  3. sinisteradjective

    on or starting from the wearer's left

    "bar sinister"


  1. sinisteradjective

    Inauspicious, ominous, unlucky.

  2. sinisteradjective

    Evil, seeming to be evil.

  3. sinisteradjective

    Of the left side.

  4. sinisteradjective

    The left side of a shield from the wearer's standpoint, and the right side to the viewer.

  5. Etymology: From sinistre, from sinistra, from sinestra.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Sinisteradjective

    Etymology: sinister, Latin.

    My mother’s blood
    Runs on the dexter cheek, and this sinister
    Bounds in my sire’s. William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida.

    Captain Spurio, with his cicatrice, an emblem of war, here on his sinister cheek. William Shakespeare, All’s well that ends well.

    But a rib, crooked by nature, bent, as now appears,
    More to the part sinister from me drawn. John Milton, Pa. Lost.

    The spleen is unjustly introduced to invigorate the sinister side, which, being dilated, would rather infirm and debilitate it. Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errours.

    In his sinister hand, instead of ball,
    He plac’d a mighty mug of potent ale. Dryden.

    Is it so strange a matter to find a good thing furthered by ill men of a sinister intent and purpose, whose forwardness is not therefore a bridle to such as favour the same cause with a better and sincere meaning. Richard Hooker.

    The duke of Clarence was soon after by sinister means made clean away. Edmund Spenser, on Ireland.

    When are there more unworthy men chosen to offices, when is there more strife and contention about elections, or when do partial and sinister affections more utter themselves, than when an election is committed to many? John Whitgift.

    He professes to have received no sinister measure from his judge, but most willingly humbles himself to the determination of justice. William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure.

    Those may be accounted the left hands of courts; persons that are full of nimble and sinister tricks and shifts, whereby they pervert the plain courses of courts, and bring justice into oblique lines and labyrinths. Francis Bacon, Essays.

    The just person has given the world an assurance, by the constant tenor of his practice, that he makes a conscience of his ways, and that he scorns to undermine another’s interest by any sinister or inferior arts. South.

    Tempt it again: that is thy act, or none:
    What all the several ills that visit earth,
    Brought forth by night, with a sinister birth,
    Plagues, famine, fire, could not reach unto,
    The sword, nor surfeits, let thy fury do. Ben Jonson.


  1. sinister

    Sinister is an adjective that describes anything or anyone appearing evil, menacing, harmful, or suggestive of threat. It is generally associated with a sense of wrongdoing, ill will, or malicious intent. It can also refer to anything on the left side, as per its original Latin meaning, but this usage is less common. It can be used to describe actions, behavior, appearance, situations or objects.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Sinisteradjective

    on the left hand, or the side of the left hand; left; -- opposed to dexter, or right

  2. Sinisteradjective

    unlucky; inauspicious; disastrous; injurious; evil; -- the left being usually regarded as the unlucky side; as, sinister influences

  3. Sinisteradjective

    wrong, as springing from indirection or obliquity; perverse; dishonest; corrupt; as, sinister aims

  4. Sinisteradjective

    indicative of lurking evil or harm; boding covert danger; as, a sinister countenance

  5. Etymology: [L. sinister: cf. F. sinistre.]


  1. Sinister

    Sinister is a death metal band from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, assembled in 1988, disassembled in 2003, and reassembled in 2005. They have released ten albums, most recently The Carnage Ending in 2012.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Sinister

    sin′is-tėr, adj. left: on the left hand: evil: unfair: dishonest: unlucky: inauspicious, malign.—adj. Sin′ister-hand′ed, left-handed.—advs. Sin′isterly; Sinis′tra (mus.), with the left hand; Sin′istrad, towards the left.—adj. Sin′istral, belonging or inclining to the left: reversed.—n. Sinistral′ity.—adv. Sin′istrally.—n. Sinistrā′tion, a turning to the left.—adj. Sin′istrous, on the left side: wrong: absurd: perverse.—adv. Sin′istrously. [L.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. sinister

    In heraldry, the left-hand side of a shield. As shields are supposed to be carried in front of the person, the sinister side is that which covers the bearer’s left side, and therefore, lies to the spectator’s right. See Points of the Escutcheon.

Suggested Resources

  1. sinister

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

Matched Categories

Anagrams for sinister »

  1. resistin

  2. insister

  3. reinsist

  4. sisterin

How to pronounce sinister?

How to say sinister in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of sinister in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of sinister in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of sinister in a Sentence

  1. Mohammed VI:

    I know there are old demons which are coming back to the surface. They are ready to wreak chaos and death, history sometimes threatens to take its sinister course once again.

  2. Donald Trump:

    In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy, these sinister ideologies must be defeated.

  3. Duncan Levin:

    There may be a completely innocent explanation for it, but it definitely is a sinister data point.

  4. Bill Clinton:

    I don't think there's anything sinister in trying to get wealthy people in countries that are seriously involved in development to spend their money wisely in a way that helps poor people and lifts them up.

  5. Samuel Alito:

    The catchy and sinister term ‘shadow docket’ has been used to portray the court as having been captured by a dangerous cabal that resorts to sneaky and improper methods to get its ways… This portrayal feeds unprecedented efforts to intimidate the court or damage it as an independent institution.

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Translations for sinister

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"sinister." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 28 Feb. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/sinister>.

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    small cat-like predatory mammals of warmer parts of the Old World
    • A. nidus
    • B. impounding
    • C. sundog
    • D. viverrine

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