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[muh-lahyn] /məˈlaɪn/
verb (used with object)
to speak harmful untruths about; speak evil of; slander; defame:
to malign an honorable man.
evil in effect; pernicious; baleful; injurious:
The gloomy house had a malign influence upon her usually good mood.
having or showing an evil disposition; malevolent; malicious.
1275-1325; Middle English maligne < Middle French < Latin malignus. See mal-, benign
Related forms
maligner, noun
malignly, adverb
unmaligned, adjective
1. libel, calumniate; disparage; revile, abuse, vilify. 2. baneful.
1. praise. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for maligned
  • Economists have been much maligned recently for our failure to agree on how to get the economy moving again.
  • Sensible sun exposure should be encouraged, not maligned.
  • Long maligned as nasty scavengers, hyenas turn out to be protective parents and accomplished hunters.
  • It's also pretty clear who is a good teacher but has maligned a malevolent student or two.
  • He was as maligned a draft pick as the organization had ever seen.
  • His words were sharp but spoken in a suffering tone that seemed intended to make me feel sorry for him and his maligned nation.
  • In many ways, she seems to have personified the more idealistic aspects of that frequently maligned era.
  • For years it has been maligned as a food that some people are allergic to and others believe is too high in calories.
  • The much-maligned car salesman is still shifting the vast majority of new cars, despite carmakers' efforts to sell online.
  • The thing is, much-maligned markets are sometimes right even when they are wrong.
British Dictionary definitions for maligned


evil in influence, intention, or effect
(transitive) to slander or defame
Derived Forms
maligner, noun
malignly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin malīgnus spiteful, from malus evil
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 maligned



early 14c., from Old French maligne "having an evil nature," from Latin malignus "wicked, bad-natured," from male "badly" (see mal-) + -gnus "born," from gignere "to bear, beget," from PIE root *gn- "to bear" (see genus).


"to slander," mid-15c., from earlier more literal sense of "to plot, to contrive" (early 15c.), from Old French malignier "to plot, deceive, pervert," from Late Latin malignare "to do maliciously," from malignus (see malign (adj.)). Related: Maligned; maligning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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