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

tending to produce death, as bubonic plague.
(of a tumor) characterized by uncontrolled growth; cancerous, invasive, or metastatic.

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)

malignant ma·lig·nant (mə-lĭg’nənt)

Threatening to life, as a disease; virulent.

Tending to metastasize; cancerous. Used of a tumor.


Tending to have a destructive clinical course, as a malignant illness.

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

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.”


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