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malignant

[muh-lig-nuh nt] /məˈlɪg nənt/
adjective
1.
disposed to cause harm, suffering, or distress deliberately; feeling or showing ill will or hatred.
2.
very dangerous or harmful in influence or effect.
3.
Pathology.
  1. tending to produce death, as bubonic plague.
  2. (of a tumor) characterized by uncontrolled growth; cancerous, invasive, or metastatic.
Origin
1535-1545
1535-45; < Late Latin malignant- (stem of malignāns), present participle of malignāre to act maliciously. See malign, -ant
Related forms
malignantly, adverb
nonmalignant, adjective
nonmalignantly, adverb
semimalignant, adjective
semimalignantly, adverb
unmalignant, adjective
unmalignantly, adverb
Synonyms
1. spiteful, malevolent. 2. perilous, hurtful, pernicious.
Antonyms
1–3. benign.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for malignant
  • Many cancer treatments work by coaxing malignant cells to commit suicide, a process known to biologists as apoptosis.
  • In some cases, uncontrolled growth of neural stem cells has been linked to malignant brain tumors.
  • Too often the apparently benign civil audit is really a malignant criminal investigation.
  • He focuses on the effects of “malignant competition” that lead to profitless growth and a desperate lurch into overseas markets.
  • Exposure to radiation in large amounts will increase malignant disease; small amounts may possibly do the same.
  • It is not known whether the tumor is malignant or benign.
  • There are also malignant complications, which in his case could be a recurrence of his tumor that he was treated for.
  • No one knows precisely what factors change a normal cell into a malignant cell.
  • Tests on the tissue that was removed showed malignant cancer cells.
  • This will counter the malignant dust of biological and chemical weapons.
British Dictionary definitions for malignant

malignant

/məˈlɪɡnənt/
adjective
1.
having or showing desire to harm others
2.
tending to cause great harm; injurious
3.
(pathol) (of a tumour) uncontrollable or resistant to therapy; rapidly spreading
noun
4.
(history) (in the English Civil War) a Parliamentarian term for a royalist (sense 1)
Derived Forms
malignantly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin malīgnāre to behave spitefully, from Latin malīgnusmalign
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 malignant
malignant
1568, in ref. to diseases, from L. malignans, prp. of malignere (see malign (adj.)). Earlier in the church malignant "followers of the antichrist," from L. ecclesiam malignantum in early Church writing, applied by Protestant writers to the Church in Rome (1542).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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malignant in Medicine

malignant ma·lig·nant (mə-lĭg'nənt)
adj.

  1. Threatening to life, as a disease; virulent.

  2. Tending to metastasize; cancerous. Used of a tumor.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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malignant in Science
malignant
  (mə-lĭg'nənt)   
  1. Tending to have a destructive clinical course, as a malignant illness.

  2. Relating to cancer cells that are invasive and tend to metastasize. Malignant tumor cells are histologically more primitive than normal tissue. Compare benign.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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malignant in Culture

malignant definition


A descriptive term for things or conditions that threaten life or well-being. Malignant is the opposite of benign.

Note: The term malignant is used in describing cancerous tumors (see cancer) because such growths are a threat to the health of the individual.
Note: The term is often used in a general way to denote something that is both destructive and fast growing: “The malignant growth of the suburbs is destroying the landscape.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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