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or diabolical

[dahy-uh-bol-ik] /ˌdaɪ əˈbɒl ɪk/
having the qualities of a devil; devilish; fiendish; outrageously wicked:
a diabolic plot.
pertaining to or actuated by a devil.
Origin of diabolic
1350-1400; Middle English diabolik (< Middle French) < Late Latin diabolicus < Greek diabolikós, equivalent to diábol(os) devil + -ikos -ic
Related forms
diabolically, adverb
diabolicalness, noun
hyperdiabolical, adjective
hyperdiabolically, adverb
hyperdiabolicalness, noun
nondiabolic, adjective
nondiabolical, adjective
nondiabolically, adverb
nondiabolicalness, noun
superdiabolical, adjective
superdiabolically, adverb
superdiabolicalness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for diabolic
Historical Examples
  • He has many true inventions in the perilous and diabolic; he has many startling nightmares realised.

    Lay Morals Robert Louis Stevenson
  • He had charmed her from her home by the exercise of diabolic arts.

    A Black Adonis Linn Boyd Porter
  • This chanced to be the arm of Godfrey McCulloch, who seemed to wear a smile of diabolic sarcasm on his face.

    Patsy S. R. Crockett
  • What diabolic jugglery was at work when the exchange was made?

  • It would seem, almost, as if a diabolic providence had prepared them for this very result.

  • Everybody watched with wonder this play, as of some large and diabolic toy.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • And this brings us to a more close consideration of the spirit of this book, characterized by our contemporary as "diabolic."

  • diabolic lore la Jules Dubois and other modern magi is profuse.

    Egoists James Huneker
  • The gulf is the difference between the angelic and the diabolic temperament.

    Man And Superman George Bernard Shaw
  • "I have nothing to do with the magic that is diabolic," said the offended enchanter.

    Calavar Robert Montgomery Bird
British Dictionary definitions for diabolic


of, relating to, or proceeding from the devil; satanic
befitting a devil; extremely cruel or wicked; fiendish
very difficult or unpleasant
Derived Forms
diabolically, adverb
diabolicalness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin diabolicus, from Greek diabolikos, from diabolosdevil
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for diabolic

late 14c., from Old French diabolique (13c.), from Late Latin diabolicus, from Ecclesiastical Greek diabolikos "devilish," from diabolos (see devil (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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