What does “malicious” mean?

Part of Speech: ADJECTIVE

Pronunciations: IPA: /mə.ˈlɪ.ʃəs/ Glossary-style: [muh-LIH-shuhs]

Definition: having the intention of doing harm or evil; deliberately harmful (Ex: a malicious remark).

Example: Jenny’s criticism that Johnny was too reserved was anything but malicious; she truly wanted to help Johnny understand why people avoided talking to him.

Discussion: malicious, of course, comes from one of the most important word roots to know: mal. mal essentially means bad.

We have many, many words in English that use the word part mal, including malignant, malign, malevolent, malefactor, malady, malediction, malcontent, malodorous, to name eight. There are many, many more, though.

If you’re wondering whether men are evil because the word male is etymologically related to mal, well, I’m happy to report that we men do not derive our classification from the word root that means bad.

Quick Vocab Quiz: malicious most nearly means (A) mistrust (B) trust (C) evil (D) pleasure (E) act


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