(redirected from evilness)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to evilness: evildoing

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 ?
The intended male-on-male violent assault is thwarted by the guests' use of supernatural power to blind their would-be attackers, but the evilness and inhospitality of Sodom seals the city's destruction.
That evilness is just so strong that we want to stay away from that.
I think you could view all of the 1980s and 1990s as part of a conservative backlash against feminism: the pushing of the evilness of the single parent, the illegitimate births, the pro-marriage, pro-family, anti-woman view.
On this account, writes Lynch, "[t]hose subject to penal intervention are mere punishable units to be classified and distributed in penal categories based upon a set of actuarial criteria, and their internal states, including motivations, drives, capacity for redemption, goodness or evilness, are irrelevant to this process.
Too soon is when the nature of the evil, and the evilness of the evil, have yet to be agreed upon.
One could disagree with his conclusion about the evilness of serial killers while accepting antireductionism in our understanding of persons.
We wanted a way for the memory of the Marcos dictatorship--the evilness of the dictatorship, and the prophetic response of Christian groups--to be kept in the memory of everyone and passed to the younger generation.
As one participant said about his gang, "We are a product of society you know, created by all the fuckin' evilness in the world.
There was so much evilness surrounding [the stow], it just absolutely destroyed me," she said in court.
This studied inarticulateness says that war is not the result of the evilness or stupidity of men, nor the designs of God or Nature, it just happens, and there is nothing we can do about it.
The finding that the subjects view harm to be more important than subjective liability could be due to the sterile nature of the scenarios, which may fail to get across the evilness of a non-harmer or the extent to which luck contributed to the absence of harm.
The protagonist's constant boasting about his own evilness and his addiction to gambling, his ponderous legal jargon, and his tedious narration of insignificant events (e.
The obvious fact that this device, which is at least as old as 1950's Night of the Hunter, is nothing more than a cheap way of intensifying a character's evilness, offering a stark contrast between his words and his actions, is far too subtle for Medved.
Well, we all know that this is the evilness that is perpetrating amongst not just grown people who are enticed into doing this, but increasingly, unsuspecting individuals, such as the mentally troubled women in Iraq who were blown up with remote detonators in the middle of the pet market in Iraq, or if you look at children who are being used, both in Afghanistan and Iraq.
At one point he ice-creamed a small girl as a threat to those who didn't take his evilness seriously.