V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary


verb, adjective

Definition: (v.) to say or write hurtful or damaging things about someone; (adj.) evil, malevolent, or wanting to hurt others

Synonyms: (v.) vilify, defame, slander, denigrate, (adj.) injurious, slanderous, malevolent, malicious, vicious, spiteful, evil

Antonyms: (v.) praise, (adj.) benign

Tips: When someone maligns another person in speech or writing, the damaging things said are often untrue. Malign is related to the word malignant, which means "full of hate and showing a desire to harm others." Malignant also denotes the ability to cause harm, as in a malignant tumor. For a memory trick, note how malign sounds like "mal lying." Now imagine you have a co-worker named Mal, who has been lying about you and has maligned (vilified, defamed, questioned, hurt) your reputation--you have been maligned (undermined, vilified, hurt, damaged) by Mal's lying. For additional study, note that benign is an antonym of malign. You have most likely come across other words with the prefix mal- and the prefix bene-. Mal is a negative prefix that denotes bad things (malcontent, malignant), while bene is a positive prefix that denotes good things (benign, benefactor, benevoloent, beneficient).

Usage Examples:

Few things were as offensive to the aristocrat as to malign his family's name. (defame, denigrate) verb

His motives were malign, not good or kind. (vicious, evil, malicious) adjective

He had a grudge against the company that fired him and maligned his former boss to everyone he met. (vilified) verb

The reporter obviously had malign motives when he wrote the injurious story about the celebrity. (slanderous, spiteful) adjective

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