book

 

Learn English  
 

Blue Level

 
 

Red Level

 
 

Yellow Level

 
 

Green Level

 
 

Purple Level

 
 

Orange Level

 
 

Violet Level

 
 

Video Lessons

 
 

Links

 
 

American Speech

 
 

Chat

 
 

How to Learn

 
 

Vocabulary

 
 

U.S. Citizenship

 
 

Reading

 

 

 


 


evil

 

The word "evil" can be used as a noun or as an adjective to describe a person or a thing that creates a condition of terror or lacks compassion for living things.

This word is often used to describe people or organizations that gain power through intimidation and fear:

  • Adolph Hitler created and carried out an evil plan to exterminate large groups of people during World War II.
  • Under Pol Pot's evil regime, Cambodia lost over two million people in the late 1970s.
  • The good people of Iraq and Syria have rejected the evil of ISIS and are now reclaiming their countries.
  • Charles Manson was sentenced to life in prison as an evil leader of a cult involved in the deaths of innocent people.

You might also hear the word "evil" used when exaggerating the negative qualities of a thing or a person:

  • Yolanda thinks her boss is evil because he takes advantage of her limited English skills.
  • People can say evil things on the internet when they believe they are saying things anonymously.
  • That was kind of an evil thing to say.
  • A car is a necessary evil.
  • The decision they made was the lesser of two evils.
  • Money is the root of all evil. (This is a common proverb.)

There are many famous quotations from famous people who have contemplated the nature of evil. Here are just a few:

  • All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -- Edmund Burke
  • All things may corrupt when minds are prone to evil. -- Ovid
  • Evil brings men together. -- Aristotle
  • Evil is obvious only in retrospect. -- Gloria Steinem

A person who does something that is evil is called an "evildoer."

  • Prisons are places for evildoers to contemplate their crimes.
  • The work of an evildoer is often offset by the work of a saint.

Click here to go to the Word of the Day page.

 

Published on August 5, 2017

 
 

 

Thanks for

helping us

to stay online

and offer

free language

instruction

to people

around the world!

 

© 2017 Learn American English Online. All rights reserved.