#41 mal → bad, evil
The Latin root word mal means “bad” or “evil.”
Let’s first of all talk about the root mal when it means “bad.” Doctors have to deal with all kinds of problems that have the root word mal in them. For instance, someone may have a malfunctioning kidney, which is “badly” functioning. They may have to treat someone who has contracted malaria; doctors once believed that people could come down with malaria if they breathed in “bad” air. A baby may be born with a malformed or “badly” formed organ which may need immediate attention. Doctors may have to treat a child who is suffering from malnutrition, or “bad” nutrition. A surgeon might have to operate on someone with a malignant tumor, which is “bad” because it’s cancerous. Lastly, an unlucky physician may be subject to a malpractice suit if his work was “badly” done.
Latin once again heavily influenced the Romance languages with the root mal: the Spanish words mal, malo, and mala, the French mal, and the Italian male all have something to do with “badness.”
A more sinister meaning of mal is “evil.” The word dismal derived from the Latin dies malus meaning “evil day;” it is easy to see why the word dismal came from this. A malicious person does not think twice about performing “evil” deeds to hurt other people. A malefactor, or "evil"doer, is the opposite of a benefactor. Someone who is maleficent fully intends to do “evil.” When you malign another, you say “evil” things about him; that is, you act in a malignant, or “evil” fashion.
Let’s end with a friendly benediction instead of a malediction: may mal no longer be “evil” or “bad” towards your vocabulary knowledge, but rather alert you to the fact that you might want to avoid anything in your path that needs a mal root word to describe it!
- malfunction: when something is functioning ‘badly’
- malaria: a disease originally thought to be caused by ‘bad’ air
- malformed: ‘badly’ shaped
- malnutrition: a condition of ‘bad’ nutrition
- malnourished: ‘badly’ nourished
- malignant: of a “bad” tumor or of someone disposed to do “evil”
- malpractice: ‘bad’ medical practice
- dismal: etymologically of an ‘evil’ day
- malicious: prone to do ‘evil’
- malefactor: one who does ‘evil’ things
- maleficent: a tendency to do ‘evil’ deeds
- malign: speak ‘evil’ about
The Left Hand of (Supposed) Darkness
Sinister, today meaning evil or malevolent in some way, comes from a Latin word simply meaning "on the left side." "Left" being associated with evil likely comes from a majority of the population being right handed, biblical texts describing God saving those on the right on Judgment day, and images depicting Eve on Adam's left. Consequently, the Latin for "right," dexter, finds its way into positive words like dexterous, and the French word for right (droit) is found in adroit.
It all depends which way you're coming from.
We think of sinister as an adjective to describe what is frightfully suggestive of darkness or evil.
He wore a sombrero hat, with a wide leather band and a bright buckle, and the ends of his moustache were twisted up stiffly, like little horns. He looked lively and ferocious, I thought, and as if he had a history. A long scar ran across one cheek and drew the corner of his mouth up in a sinister curl.
— Willa Cather, My Ántonia, 1918
The movie [Doctor Sleep] focuses on an adult Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor), who protects a young girl from a sinister group known as The True Knot.
— Christopher Fiduccia, Screen Rant, 28 Oct. 2019
Werner runs the needle through the frequencies, switches bands, retuned the transceiver again, scouring the static. The air swarms with it day and night, a great, sad, sinister Ukrainian static that seems to have been here long before humans figured out how to hear it.
— Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See, 2014
'Sinister' Meaning and Origin
Sinister comes from a Latin word meaning “on the left side,” and while the earliest uses of the word in English—dating from the 14th century—pertain to some measure of evil, forboding, or malevolence, others retain the Latin meaning of “left”:
PAROLLES. … you shall find in the regiment of
the Spinii one Captain Spurio, with his cicatrice, an emblem of
war, here on his sinister cheek; it was this very sword
— William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well, Act II, Scene i, 1623
Why Was 'Left' Considered Evil?
The association of the directional left with evil is likely attributed to the dominance of right-handed people within a population, and consequently the awkwardness of motions made from the left side of the body.
Such darkness wasn’t always attached to that side, however. The Ancient Celts, for example, worshipped the left side, associating it with femininity and the fertile womb. But beginning with the appearance of Eve on Adam’s left side in accounts of Genesis, the Christian tradition finds instances of the left side being pinned to immorality.
The Book of Matthew describes how God will divide nations on the Day of Judgment, “as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left,” with those on the right sent to the kingdom of Heaven and those on the left “cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Left-handed people comprise only 10 percent of the population, and the preference for the left hand demonstrated by the popular minority was attributed to demonic possession, leading to accusations of witchcraft.
In the 20th century, anthropologists and psychologists identified left-handedness as a biological anomaly, one associated with deviancy but that could be corrected away with behavioral reinforcement.
If 'Left' Is Evil, What About 'Right'?
The historical association of sinister with evil or backwardness is balanced linguistically by the fact that dexter, the Latin word meaning “on the right side,” comes with a largely positive connotation that survives throughout its linguistic descendants.
To be dexterous, for example, is to be good with the hands (like a surgeon) or a clever thinker, while one who is ambidextrous uses one’s left and right hand equally well.
The French word for “right or straight,” droit, gives us our word adroit, with a meaning similar to dexterous. The parallel is carried on by other words. The French word for “left,” gauche, is used in English to mean “lacking social grace” (“it’s considered gauche to arrive without a gift for the host”); a synonym of gauche, also from French, is maladroit (“a maladroit attempt to express his condolences”), which again utilizes the French word droit.
And of course, our word right is used to mean “correct," “true,” or "ethically sound" (“a right answer"; "didn't have the right address"; “the right thing to do”).
A popular maxim found on refrigerator magnets says that if the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, then only left-handed people are in their right minds. In spite of that observation, the linguistic bias against the left side, and left-handedness in particular, is entrenched in English and many other languages, and likely will never go away.
Malum in se
Inherently unsound conduct
Malum in se (plural mala in se) is a Latin phrase meaning wrong or evil in itself. The phrase is used to refer to conduct assessed as sinful or inherently wrong by nature, independent of regulations governing the conduct. It is distinguished from malum prohibitum, which is wrong only because it is prohibited.
For example, most human beings believe that murder, rape, and robbery are wrong, regardless of whether a law governs such conduct or where the conduct occurs, and is thus recognizably malum in se. In contrast, malum prohibitum crimes are criminal not because they are inherently bad, but because the act is prohibited by the law of the state. For example, most United States jurisdictions require drivers to drive on the right side of the road. This is not because driving on the left side of a road is considered immoral, but because consistent rules promote safety and order on the roads.
The question between inherently wrong versus prohibited most likely originated in Plato's Socratic dialogue, Euthyphro, in which Socrates famously asked "Is the pious (τὸ ὅσιον) loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?" (10a). In this case, do the gods command what is good, or do the gods command good?
This concept was used to develop the various common law offences. In the Case of Judication, it was determined that "that which is against natural law" is malum in se and is as such prohibited by Act of judicial trial and Criminal Law, however "that which is against statutory law" is malum prohibitum and is such an offence as is prohibited by Act of congressional hearing and Civil Law. The Libertarian idea of the "Non-Aggression Principle," is often a reference for determining amnesty by virtue of statute.
Another way to describe the underlying conceptual difference between "malum in se" and "malum prohibitum" is "iussum quia iustum" and "iustum quia iussum", namely something that is commanded (iussum) because it is just (iustum) and something that is just (iustum) because it is commanded (iussum).
English - Latin Dictionary:
Synonyms of the word "evil":
The definition of word "evil":
|+6||1. wicked, bad, corrupt|
|+3||2. wickedness, badness, malevolence|
|+3||3.adj immoral, or cruel, or very unpleasant We must do everything necessary to overthrow this evil dictator. He was a narrow-minded, sadistic, thoroughly evil little man. If someone has an evil tongue, they tend to say unpleasant things about other people. If the weather or a smell is evil, it is very unpleasant. The evil eye is the magical power to injure or harm people by looking at them.|
|+1||4. in an evil manner, in a wicked manner, evilly|
Please rate the definition of "evil" which is the most useful for you.
We have found the following latin words and translations for "evil":
So, this is how you say "evil" in latin.
Expressions containing "evil":
to do/contrive evil
with evil intent
We hope that these expressions give you a good idea about how to use the word "evil" in sentences.
Up to now, 1,117,048 words and expressions have been searched, among 5,921 today.
Tags: evil, maleficus, malum, malum, nocens, pravus, English - Latin Dictionary, English
Evil latin for
11 Rare Old Words for the Heinous and Villainous
Whether you’re watching a movie or reading the news, it’s hard to avoid villainous, heinous, wicked behavior—but we all could use a few new words for the diabolical. Fortunately, there are plenty of older words ready for a revival. Please consider using the following out-of-fashion terms the next time you talk about the deplorable deeds of Dr. Doom, Dr. Evil, or that guy down the street who always walks his dog without a leash.
The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition leaves little to the imagination: “Extremely wicked or immoral; grossly criminal; vile, atrocious, heinous; infamous.” This Latin borrowing was big in the 1700s but has faded in use since then, though it has spawned a few amusing derivatives. In George Borrow’s 1841 book The Zincali, he writes that Constantine the Great “condemned to death those who should practise such facinorousness.”
Mixship is a rare, old word for a villainous deed. If mixship seems opaque, that’s because it sprang from an Old English sense of mix that disappeared a long time ago: mix was a word for dung or other filth. So calling something a mixship was like saying “What a total pile of crap!” or “That’s BS” today.
Back in the 1500s, repudious was first used as a word for anything rejection-worthy, in particular the vile and villainous.
As far back as the early 1600s, a skelm was a villain or other rascal. The word comes from a German term that could refer to various awful things and beings, including the devil and a pestilence. By the 1600s, the term was also being used as an adjective, like in a 1673 mention by English poet John Dryden of the “Skellum English.”
Derf is an adjective and adverb that first referred to boldness around 1200, but by the 1400s, it had taken on a sense of boldness that is evil. Not much has been described as derf for a few centuries, and a comeback is unlikely. Anything rhyming with Nerf doesn’t sound very evil or bold.
Gallows is well-known as a noun, but began appearing as an adjective in the 1400s for miscreants presumed to deserve it. The contemporary equivalent would be a coinage like lethal-injection-y.
This term, first found in the late 1700s, is equal parts wickedness and mischief. John Palmer, in his 1798 novel Like Master Like Man, used the term in a sense that suggested incorrigibility: “So prone to mischief, that his supposed aunt declared, ‘it was beyond her to manage him—he was a nineted one’.” The etymology is uncertain, but it could be a variation of benighted, which has a wonderful OED definition: “Overtaken by the darkness of the night; affected by the night.” That definition could also apply to Batman.
The OED traces this word back to the Bible, and it’s fitting it may have originated in a book concerned with sin—it refers to people who are guilty. A 1796 book called An Apology for the Bible contains this memorable sentence: “You will have annihilated in the minds of the flagitious all their fears of future punishment.”
Since the days of Old English, someone nitheful has been wicked.
10. AND 11. MISLIVED AND UNPERFECT
The slightly euphemistic word mislived provides a subtle way of saying, “Wow, are they ever vile and wrong and offensive.” This term has been used in relation to wicked behavior since the 1400s and turns up in Chaucer. A career criminal is very likely a mislived miscreant. A similarly understated word is unperfect, which has had many senses but referred to sinful wickedness from the late 1300s on.
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He pressed me tightly, we almost stopped, and he asked to take off his tie and unbutton his shirt. In general, there is nothing new about this, girls in private often do such things. He had a hairy chest, dark skin, the smell of perfume. he himself put my hands on his bare chest, and with his already squeezed my ass under my skirt.
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