Definition of malign in English:



  • 1Evil in nature or effect.

    ‘she had a strong and malign influence’
    • ‘Racism of some kind is just about universal but some forms are much more malign than others.’
    • ‘The piece centred on the malign effect he believes environmental sceptics have on discussion of pollution and industrialisation.’
    • ‘The humanity of the characters is never totally eclipsed by their more malign traits.’
    • ‘But what of the few, the very few, who are not allowed to watch TV, whose elders have decided that it is a malign influence?’
    • ‘Why were the Lanarkshire whistle-blowers accused of malign intent for demanding early action?’
    • ‘In the poorest parts of the world, such images are said to have a particularly malign influence.’
    • ‘Politicians concern themselves predominantly and directly with the malign influence that broadcasting might exert on its audiences.’
    • ‘Whilst not sent with any malign intent, the letter was an " oppressive document".’
    • ‘Even from beyond the legislative grave, Section 28 continues to exercise its malign influence.’
    • ‘And we can't really know how far his malign influence has spread.’
    • ‘Professor Snape is a malign influence and should be given a spell away.’
    • ‘Government policy has a massive and usually malign effect.’
    • ‘He accurately intuited that all power is essentially implacable and malign.’
    • ‘Manifest in the two friends' fortunes is the malign effect of commercialism.’
    • ‘We should not believe that this malign aspect of human nature which sleeps in all of us has gone away or will ever go away.’
    • ‘A misguided strategy, but not, I think, a malign one.’
    • ‘The worst aspect of science fiction/science fantasy books is their malign neglect of the laws of economics.’
    • ‘The place is populated by endearing eccentrics who eat seal-flipper pie and brood darkly on the sea's malign nature.’
    • ‘In that climate of malign neglect, the bureau's ills were allowed to fester.’
    • ‘The American Empire emerges, then, not as a complex phenomenon with some good effects and some malign ones.’
    harmful, evil, bad, baleful, hostile, inimical, destructive, malevolent, evil-intentioned, malignant, injurious, spiteful, malicious, vicious
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    1. 1.1archaic (of a disease) malignant.
      • ‘Therapeutic measures such as bleeding and purging, designed originally to get rid or excess or malign humours, continued to be used.’
      • ‘But it was no match for the malign tumor, first detected just last spring, his colleagues said.’
      • ‘Hysteria was at one time thought to be caused by the womb moving upwards due to the influence of malign humours.’
      • ‘After hours spent quelling the fire with cold water, ‘he succumbed to a fever so malign that in just a few days he expired in the icy embrace of death.’’


[with object]
  • Speak about (someone) in a spitefully critical manner.

    ‘don't you dare malign her in my presence’
    • ‘There was a time at mid-century when maligning the mother took a more generalized form.’
    • ‘Prescott has been much maligned for its substantial increase in heat output.’
    • ‘Tommy went on to pay tribute to the county footballers, saying they are often maligned.’
    • ‘Shame on you, Jim Ross, for maligning a man for making the right decision.’
    • ‘A victory for the champion team Sydney has been much maligned this year.’
    • ‘And yet, never has realism (to use a very broad term) been so maligned.’
    • ‘Second, they'd imply that Chalabi had been unjustly maligned or demonized by opponents with other agendas to pursue.’
    • ‘He did not set out to falsely malign anyone or advance some hidden political agenda.’
    • ‘He was also taken aback because he felt the PR consultant was maligning someone who was dead.’
    • ‘In all the articles maligning students of the past two decades for apathy, the media rarely deign to mention this counterexample.’
    • ‘Now that we have Camilla installed, her champion wrote, should we still be maligning this lady?’
    • ‘Men have been so maligned by our society that they are not taken seriously when they protest.’
    • ‘I shall delight in maligning him at every hand's turn.’
    • ‘The Yankees and Red Sox are often maligned by the other owners for bloated payrolls.’
    • ‘And I thought she was one of the most maligned people in American history.’
    • ‘Event after event causes Philip to wonder whether Rachel is a scheming murderous or grossly maligned woman.’
    • ‘While eggs may have an unhealthy image, the evidence suggests they have been unfairly maligned.’
    • ‘Social services must be the most maligned group of people in today's society.’
    • ‘But he denied the army had been maligning politicians to discredit them.’
    • ‘The bench has been much maligned all season, and not all of the complaints were unwarranted.’
    defame, slander, libel, blacken someone's character, blacken someone's name, smear, run a smear campaign against, vilify, speak ill of, spread lies about, accuse falsely, cast aspersions on, run down, misrepresent, calumniate, traduce, denigrate, disparage, slur, derogate, abuse, revile
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Middle English: via Old French maligne (adjective), malignier (verb), based on Latin malignus ‘tending to evil’, from malus ‘bad’.