malign

If you malign someone, you badmouth them — just like the jilted girlfriend who tells the whole school her ex has bad breath and head lice.

When you habitually malign people, you risk being described as "a malign influence" — in this case, malign is an adjective that describes a harmful or even evil person or thing. Whichever way you use the word, its connection to wickedness can be found in its Latin root, malignus, "wicked or bad-natured," which combines male, or "badly" and -gnus, "born."

Definitions of malign
  1. verb
    speak unfavorably about
    synonyms: badmouth, drag through the mud, traduce
    see moresee less
    type of:
    asperse, besmirch, calumniate, defame, denigrate, slander, smear, smirch, sully
    charge falsely or with malicious intent; attack the good name and reputation of someone
  2. adjective
    evil or harmful in nature or influence
    “prompted by malign motives”
    “believed in witches and malign spirits”
    “gave him a malign look”
    “a malign lesion”
    Synonyms:
    maleficent
    harmful or evil in intent or effect
    cancerous
    like a cancer; an evil that grows and spreads
    harmful
    causing or capable of causing harm
    unkind
    lacking kindness
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    benign, benignant
    pleasant and beneficial in nature or influence
    kindly
    pleasant and agreeable
    harmless
    not causing or capable of causing harm
    kind
    having or showing a tender and considerate and helpful nature; used especially of persons and their behavior
    show more antonyms...
  3. adjective
    having or exerting a malignant influence
    synonyms: evil, malefic, malevolent
    maleficent
    harmful or evil in intent or effect
Word Family