venomous

An animal that is venomous produces poison. Also, people act in a venomous way when they are cruel, evil, or deliberately harmful.

Both senses of venomous have to do with poison. The first meaning is literal: if a venomous snake bites you, you could die. Venomous animals are extremely dangerous, and their bite requires immediate medical attention. For people, being venomous is a little different. Spreading lies is venomous. Stealing someone's significant other is venomous. Anytime someone is being destructive on purpose, it's venomous. For people, venomous means something close to villainous — being venomous is like spreading metaphorical poison.

Definitions of venomous
  1. adjective
    extremely poisonous or injurious; producing venom
    venomous snakes”
    synonyms: deadly, virulent
    toxic
    of or relating to or caused by a toxin or poison
  2. adjective
    marked by deep ill will; deliberately harmful
    venomous criticism”
    synonyms: poisonous, vicious
    malicious
    having the nature of or resulting from malice
Word Family