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[muh-lig-nuh nt] /məˈlɪg nənt/

disposed to cause harm, suffering, or distress deliberately; feeling or showing ill will or hatred.
very dangerous or harmful in influence or effect.

having or showing desire to harm others
tending to cause great harm; injurious
(pathol) (of a tumour) uncontrollable or resistant to therapy; rapidly spreading
(history) (in the English Civil War) a Parliamentarian term for a royalist (sense 1)

1560s, in reference to diseases, from Middle French malignant and directly from Late Latin malignantem (nominative malignans) “acting from malice,” present participle of malignare “injure maliciously” (see malign (v.)). Earlier in the church malignant “followers of the antichrist,” from Latin ecclesiam malignantum in early Church writing, applied by Protestant writers to the Church in Rome (1540s). As an adjective, Middle English used simple malign (early 14c.). Related: Malignantly.

malignant ma·lig·nant (mə-lĭg’nənt)


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.”


Read Also:

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  • Malignant ciliary epithelioma

    malignant ciliary epithelioma n. A malignant proliferation of ciliary epithelium that frequently includes the infiltration of the pigmented layer. Also called adult medulloepithelioma.

  • Malignant fibrous histiocytoma

    malignant fibrous histiocytoma n. A deeply situated tumor, especially on the extremities of adults, frequently recurring after surgery and metastasizing to the lungs.

  • Malignant dyskeratosis

    malignant dyskeratosis n. Dyskeratosis that is likely to occur in precancerous or malignant lesions.

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