having or showing a desire to harm others or cause them trouble


US English

UK English

Part of speech



Malevolent, spiteful, wicked, evil, mean, cruel


Benevolent, kind, good-natured, helpful, friendly, generous

Example sentences

  • The malicious hacker stole personal information from thousands of users.
  • Her malicious intent was evident from the smirk on her face.
  • The malicious rumors spread quickly and ruined his reputation.


The word “malicious” is used to describe someone or something that is intended to harm or hurt another person or group. This harm can be physical, emotional, or reputational, and can take the form of actions, words, or even thoughts. People who are malicious are often described as malevolent or wicked, as they have an evil or harmful intent. In contrast, benevolent individuals have a kind and helpful nature, and would never intentionally cause harm. When used to describe actions or events, the word “malicious” implies a deliberate and premeditated effort to cause harm, making it a strong and serious word