Definition of pernicious in English:



  • Having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way.

    ‘the pernicious influences of the mass media’
    • ‘Yet this fear of the pernicious effects of property rights did not last for long.’
    • ‘I pretend to teach young people about the pernicious effects of a total surveillance state.’
    • ‘At its most extreme whole economies are destroyed by its pernicious influence.’
    • ‘Outside of the identity principle, however, the correlation is both pernicious and ethically dubious.’
    • ‘It also stands for the complete victory of the Buddhist Doctrine over all harmful and pernicious forces.’
    • ‘Equally problematic is the pernicious effect of bad design on the environment.’
    • ‘Yet some faculty perceive the pernicious effects of these forms and want to end them.’
    • ‘The trouble is that fear is almost as pernicious as perceived danger.’
    • ‘What worries me are the pernicious influences on athletes like him.’
    • ‘Just putting some healthier options on the menu doesn't counteract the more pernicious effect a large global corporation has.’
    • ‘He's correct that the right of jury nullification trumps any worries about the possible pernicious effects of the drug.’
    • ‘The register will make an important contribution to tackling this pernicious evil.’
    • ‘In fact, it can actually be pernicious because it covers up a reality.’
    • ‘Physiological laws can explain the harmful and pernicious effects of deep breathing.’
    • ‘At the same time, the pernicious influence of new urban cultural patterns could share some of the blame for rural degeneration.’
    • ‘Over the past few months and years, some pernicious myths have started to become a little too popular.’
    • ‘Instrumental rationality has had a particularly pernicious effect on the environment.’
    • ‘This new form of protectionism has an added pernicious quality.’
    • ‘Trying to keep out the pernicious effects of popular culture is a losing battle.’
    • ‘Instead, they say, it is a pernicious and widespread cancer infecting the media and political classes across Europe.’
    harmful, damaging, destructive, injurious, hurtful, detrimental, deleterious, dangerous, adverse, inimical, unhealthy, unfavourable, bad, evil, baleful, wicked, malign, malevolent, malignant, noxious, poisonous, cancerous, corrupting, ruinous, deadly, lethal, fatal
    malefic, maleficent
    pestilent, pestilential, baneful, pestiferous
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Latin perniciosus destructive, from pernicies ruin, based on nex, nec- death.