evil

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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

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

evil

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 classic literature ?
But I will give men as the price for fire an evil thing in which they may all be glad of heart while they embrace their own destruction.
But he took the gift, and afterwards, when the evil thing was already his, he understood.
SOCRATES: Is it not obvious that those who are ignorant of their nature do not desire them; but they desire what they suppose to be goods although they are really evils; and if they are mistaken and suppose the evils to be goods they really desire goods?
SOCRATES: Well, and do those who, as you say, desire evils, and think that evils are hurtful to the possessor of them, know that they will be hurt by them?
So we went out, but as we passed them I saw the doctors muttering together, for they were ill-pleased and foreboded evil.
But his death 'will be the seed' of many disciples who will convince them of their evil ways, and will come forth to reprove them in harsher terms, because they are younger and more inconsiderate.
Jekyll was no worse; he woke again to his good qualities seemingly unimpaired; he would even make haste, where it was possible, to undo the evil done by Hyde.
It disquieted me in my dreams - the evil in thy soul working through to mine.
We have nothing of a similar kind on the side of evil.
She is the evil genius of the land," he answered, "and I shall kill her, and all the witch doctors with her
I have been mad to stay with you for four years, to look on, however passively, at all the evil you have done.
The tower is God, the dungeon is the dwelling of the Evil One.
Certainly not; for he thinks that a friend ought always to do good to a friend and never evil.
But as there is scarce any human good without its concomitant evil, so there are people who find an inconvenience in this unobserving temper of mankind; I mean persons who have no money; for as you are not put out of countenance, so neither are you cloathed or fed by those who do not know you.
And nothing evil groweth in thee any longer, unless it be the evil that groweth out of the conflict of thy virtues.