The word "evil" can be used as a noun or as an adjective to describe a person or a thing that creates a condition of terror or lacks compassion for living things.

This word is often used to describe people or organizations that gain power through intimidation and fear:

  • Adolph Hitler created and carried out an evil plan to exterminate large groups of people during World War II.
  • Under Pol Pot’s evil regime, Cambodia lost over two million people in the late 1970s.
  • The good people of Iraq and Syria have rejected the evil of ISIS and are now reclaiming their countries.
  • Charles Manson was sentenced to life in prison as an evil leader of a cult involved in the deaths of innocent people.

You might also hear the word "evil" used when exaggerating the negative qualities of a thing or a person:

  • Yolanda thinks her boss is evil because he takes advantage of her limited English skills.
  • People can say evil things on the internet when they believe they are saying things anonymously.
  • That was kind of an evil thing to say.
  • A car is a necessary evil.
  • The decision they made was the lesser of two evils.
  • Money is the root of all evil. (This is a common proverb.)

There are many famous quotations from famous people who have contemplated the nature of evil. Here are just a few:

  • All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. — Edmund Burke
  • All things may corrupt when minds are prone to evil. — Ovid
  • Evil brings men together. — Aristotle
  • Evil is obvious only in retrospect. — Gloria Steinem

A person who does something that is evil is called an "evildoer."

  • Prisons are places for evildoers to contemplate their crimes.
  • The work of an evildoer is often offset by the work of a saint.

Click here to go to the Word of the Day page.


Published on August 5, 2017


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