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Related to evilly: eviler, evilest

evil eye

1. The power believed by the superstitious to inflict harm, injury, or misfortune by a look or stare. They say that the old lady living in the house at the end of the road has an evil eye—if she catches you in her gaze, you'll be cursed with bad luck for a year!
2. A hateful, malicious, or villainous look or stare that suggests or is thought to be capable of inflicting harm or misfortune. I saw him giving me the evil eye, so I turned around and walked the other way.
See also: evil, eye

evil twin

1. A malignant, treacherous, and/or malicious counterpart of a person or thing. Our competitor sells similar products, but they manufacture them in sweatshops—they're like our evil twin.
2. In telecommunications networking, a hidden wireless access point located near a legitimate one, used for the purposes of eavesdropping or diverting sensitive personal information. I know you think I'm just a conspiracy theorist, but the government is using evil twins to listen in on digital communications between people all around the country!
See also: evil

choose the lesser of two evils

To pick the less offensive of two undesirable options. I wasn't excited about going to a seminar all weekend, but I also didn't want to lose my license, so I chose the lesser of two evils and spent the weekend learning about new regulations in our field. Do you really want to get a demerit for not having your blazer? Just choose the lesser of two evils and tell the teacher you forgot it—maybe she'll take pity on you!
See also: choose, evil, lesser, of, two

necessary evil

Something bad that must exist or occur in order for something good to happen. These days, student loans are a necessary evil in order to get an education that leads to a well-paying job. Some view dictators as a necessary evil who keep the region stable by suppressing more radical elements.
See also: evil, necessary

the evil one

The devil. My son has never gotten into trouble like this before—I worry that he's under the evil one's influence.
See also: evil, one

Evil be to him who evil thinks.

Prov. May bad things happen to anyone who thinks evil things. (A curse against those who wish you harm. This is the English version of the French Honi soit qui malypense, the motto of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, a British order of knighthood.) The secret brotherhood took an oath of loyalty and finished their meeting by declaring, "Evil be to him who evil thinks."
See also: evil, think, who

Idleness is the root of all evil.

Prov. If you have no useful work to do, you will think of harmful things to do in order to amuse yourself. (Compare this with Money is the root of all evil.) Child: Why do you make me do so many chores? Father: Idleness is the root of all evil.
See also: all, evil, of, root

lesser of two evils

the less bad thing of a pair of bad things. I didn't like either politician, so I voted for the lesser of two evils. Given the options of going out with someone I don't like and staying home and watching a boring television program, I chose the lesser of the two evils and watched television.
See also: evil, lesser, of, two

Money is the root of all evil.

 and The love of money is the root of all evil.
Prov. People do many evil things in order to get rich. (Biblical. Compare this with Idleness is the root of all evil.) Fred: I know I could make more money if I just knew the right things to invest in. Ellen: Don't worry so much about money. It's the root of all evil, after all. As the newspapers continued to report the dastardly things the wealthy young banker had done to become even wealthier, people shook their heads and remarked, "The love of money is the root of all evil."
See also: all, evil, money, of, root

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

Prov. Ignore any evil that you come in contact with; be virtuous even though there is evil around you. (Often represented by three monkeys, one of which is covering his eyes, one his ears, and one his mouth.) Jill: Do you have any idea why Fred is staying in the office so late every night? Jane: Not me. Like the three little monkeys, I see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
See also: evil, hear, see, speak

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Prov. You should not worry about things that might happen in the future.; It is enough to worry about things that are happening today. (Biblical.) Jane: I can't get to sleep; I keep thinking about the interview I have to do tomorrow. Alan: If the interview is tomorrow, worry about it tomorrow. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
See also: evil, sufficient, unto

the lesser of two evils

the less unpleasant of two choices, neither of which are good Sometimes I don't like either of the candidates, so I just try to choose the lesser of the two evils.
Usage notes: sometimes used in the form a lesser evil: I don't like her, I just think of her as the lesser evil.
See also: evil, lesser, of, two

give somebody the evil eye

to look at someone in an angry or unpleasant way I arrived late for the meeting and Steve Thomson gave me the evil eye.
See also: evil, eye, give

the lesser of two evils

  also a lesser evil
the less unpleasant of two choices, neither of which are good I suppose I regard the Democratic candidate as the lesser of two evils.
See also: evil, lesser, of, two

a necessary evil

something that you do not like but which you know must exist or happen He considers taxes a necessary evil.
See also: evil, necessary

evil eye

The power to cause injury or misfortune, as in The tomatoes died shortly after planting-I must have an evil eye. The source of this expression is the ancient superstitious belief that some individuals could inflict harm on others simply by looking at them. Today the term is generally used figuratively or ironically, as above, and also in the form give someone the evil eye, which means "glare malevolently at someone." For example, Helen gave his cat the evil eye, hoping it would stay out of her garden. [Late 1300s]
See also: evil, eye

give someone the evil eye

see under evil eye.
See also: evil, eye, give

lesser of two evils

The somewhat less unpleasant of two poor choices. For example, I'd rather stay home and miss the picnic altogether than run into those nasty people-it's the lesser of two evils . This expression was already a proverb in ancient Greek and appeared in English by the late 1300s. Chaucer used it in Troilus and Cressida.
See also: evil, lesser, of, two


mod. excellent. (see also wicked.) This wine is really evil!

evil twin

n. an illegal duplicate of an internet sign-in page into which people enter passwords and credit card numbers, thinking they are signing up for the real thing. There was an evil twin operating at the coffee shop, and I gave out my credit card number before I knew what was going on.
See also: evil
References in periodicals archive ?
is] that these have been corrupted in many places by heretics and evilly disposed persons" (Rufinus of Aquileia, "Preface of Rufinus," in Origen, On First Principles: Being Koetschau's Text of the De principiis, trans.
Despoina, bear with me A little longer yet: In fevered curse and fret I have borne me evilly.
See, for instance, the threats of the god Priapus to violators of his garden: 'You, who scheme evilly and try derangedly to steal from the garden, will be buggered by my yardstick.
DEF richness use:iMPS evilly held:GER kus u x Innimenne omma Suddame
These powerful Lords with their magnificent courts and poet-scholars, seeing themselves in danger, set on foot that campaign to discredit the Pope and his relatives, a campaign which grew steadily more intense as they lost their hold on all that they had so evilly acquired.
The narrator opens his retrospective account by confessing, "I have an odd craving to whisper about those few frightful hours in that ill-rumoured and evilly shadowed seaport of death and blasphemous abnormality.
In "Kaddish," we can see Ginsberg's feelings of horror about his mother: "Naomi, Naomi--sweating, bulge-eyed, fat, the dress unbuttoned at one side--hair over brow, her stocking hanging evilly on her legs--screaming for a blood transfusion--one righteous hand upraised--a shoe in it--barefoot in the Pharmacy--" (1984a, 215).
He drank too much and in the end it killed him, not necessarily of itself but of a weakness it introduced, evilly installed like an accident waiting to happen, ready to rush him off into the night whether he went gently or otherwise.
Something about the scene reminded me of the strange and disturbing Asian paintings of Nicholas Roerich, (12) and of the still stranger and more disturbing descriptions of the evilly fabled plateau of Leng which occur in the dreaded Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred.
Mark Beesley got the goals in the 28th and 63rd minutes, which made Cambridge joint leaders on points in the division, as he linked superbly in a mobile front line with Lee Mc Evilly and Chris Holdroyd.
So why has this evilly effective substance not managed to ferment another civil war despite a steadily increasing number of added irritants?
A horrible witch like person has mounted my chest and is evilly staring into my eyes.
The survivor or victim, and others, may judge their actions as stupid, negligent, cowardly, selfish, evilly aggressive, etc.
Weiner chronicles the CIA's willful ignorance, arrogance and so-called intelligence measured in quantity rather than quality, and poor judgment with anecdotes that often sound like plots invented by an evilly comic John le Carre.
As the contest intensified, Roberts found Proctor in space on the right and his cross look measured for Mc Evilly until Tony Gerrard made a vital interception.