Definition of diabolical in US English:

diabolical

adjective

  • 1Characteristic of the Devil, or so evil as to be suggestive of the Devil.

    ‘his diabolical cunning’
    • ‘It was indeed very fitting that the President of the USA should have two direct descendants from that diabolical slave trade on hands for his African visit.’
    • ‘I think what happens is we have these two tendencies, divine and diabolical, the sinner and the saint, the sacred and profane.’
    • ‘The Devil and his diabolical servants seemed to have no interest in the fate of individual mortals for the moment.’
    • ‘We are capable of diabolical evil - and angelic goodness.’
    • ‘Now is the time to show our courage, to show our resilience, to show the perpetrators of this diabolical act that our spirit is more resolute and determined than ever before.’
    • ‘Nazism was a diabolical monstrosity and it was fitting not only to commemorate its demise, but also to celebrate the millions who paid the highest sacrifice.’
    • ‘From beginning to end, we are prey to the movie's diabolical killer, who presents us with a variety of abominable ways to slay and mutilate his victims.’
    • ‘Well, Octavia, when they blame U.S., are they suggesting some sort of diabolical plot?’
    • ‘It sounded very much like she was trying to sound evil and diabolical, but all she came across as was somewhat disturbed.’
    • ‘Was there some evil demonic being looking to recruit unsuspecting people for a diabolical plan?’
    • ‘In a floor speech, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, called the juxtaposition diabolical.’
    • ‘One can only marvel at the fiendish and diabolical powers of darkness under Hillary's wicked command.’
    • ‘Rising from the verdant splendour of the Ukrainian countryside, Zaporozhye looks like a diabolical inferno; a city on fire.’
    • ‘The choice of name, ‘Death March,’ was said to be the evidence of the diabolical intent of Stephen Cadiz and his group.’
    • ‘Now, I count myself among that small minority of middle class Indians who believe that both are serious problems and that it is diabolical to find excuses for them.’
    • ‘If you were an diabolical terrorist mastermind living in a cave, around what place would you centre your evil terrorist plans?’
    • ‘Far too few have taken this diabolical wickedness seriously.’
    • ‘As much as it may surprise you, I do have a plan, a diabolical plan for the destruction of Hydrogen Guy and his infernal cohorts.’
    • ‘Potter wanted to twist this plot around, and have a much more diabolical character accomplish the same thing by accident.’
    • ‘There's a certain diabolical quality about him.’
    devilish, diabolic, fiendish, satanic, mephistophelian, demonic, demoniacal, hellish, infernal, evil, wicked, ungodly, unholy
    devilish, fiendish, satanic, mephistophelian, demonic, demoniacal, hellish, infernal, evil, wicked, ungodly, unholy
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  • 2British informal Disgracefully bad or unpleasant.

    ‘a singer with an absolutely diabolical voice’
    • ‘The horse came out after a diabolical performance on the second day of the competition where he didn't leave the ground on some of the fences in the Nations Cup competition.’
    • ‘The very notion is ‘insidious, unworthy, diabolical, appalling, shrill and hysterical’.’
    • ‘Something diabolical happened in Canberra on Thursday.’
    • ‘The diabolical state of two of the main roads into Claremorris town was once again addressed at a meeting in the South Mayo capital last week.’
    • ‘The bumper delivered from round the wicket looked diabolical.’
    • ‘The way in which the process has taken place, and the rush and haste in which this legislation is being rammed through, are a diabolical disgrace.’
    • ‘It was all an insidious and diabolical mistake.’
    • ‘And through some diabolical mishap of unfortunate engineering, all of it exited through one toilet in her basement.’
    • ‘I say, and New Zealand First says, that it is a diabolical disgrace to spend $21.15 million in this way.’
    • ‘But what happens in the dating world, alas, is something more diabolical and complex.’
    • ‘I think it's absolutely diabolical and disgraceful that the England players even contemplated going on strike.’
    • ‘Tudor's first spell was handy, his second was diabolical.’
    • ‘It was diabolical that only 885 dogs are licensed in Co Carlow.’
    • ‘But it was going to be really diabolical this weekend up north, before Sydney came to the Friday night first semi-final party.’
    • ‘And Labor, in truth, is responsible for the diabolical state of ethics in Australia's radio and commercial television media.’
    • ‘Indeed, The Price is Right is little more than a diabolical scheme to trick the viewer into watching 60 minutes of continuous advertising.’
    • ‘The book's production set some novel - not to say diabolical problems for Melbourne University Press.’
    very bad, poor, dreadful, awful, terrible, frightful, disgraceful, shameful, lamentable, deplorable, appalling, atrocious
    very great, extreme, excessive, undue, inordinate, immoderate, unconscionable, outrageous
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Origin

Late Middle English (as diabolic): from Old French diabolique or ecclesiastical Latin diabolicus, from diabolus ‘devil’; the form diabolical dates from the early 16th century.

Pronunciation

diabolical

/ˌdīəˈbälək(ə)l//ˌdaɪəˈbɑlək(ə)l/