AskDefine | Define malignant

Dictionary Definition

malignant adj
1 dangerous to health; characterized by progressive and uncontrolled growth (especially of a tumor) [ant: benign]
2 extremely malevolent or malicious; "the malignant tongues of gossipers" [syn: malevolent]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /məˈlɪgnənt/


  1. Harmful, malevolent, injurious.
  2. Harmfully cancerous; as, a malignant tumor.

Related terms


harmful, malevolent, injurious
  • Dutch: kwaadaardig
  • Finnish: pahantahtoinen, vahingollinen
  • German: bösartig
  • Hungarian: rosszindulatú
oncology: harmfully cancerous
  • Finnish: pahanlaatuinen
  • German: bösartig, malign
  • Hungarian: rosszindulatú

Extensive Definition

Malignant (from the Latin roots mal- = "bad" and -genus = "born") is a medical term used to describe a severe and progressively worsening disease. The term is most familiar as a description of cancer. A malignant tumor may be contrasted with a non-cancerous benign tumor in that a malignancy is not self-limited in its growth, is capable of invading into adjacent tissues, and may be capable of spreading to distant tissues (metastasizing), while a benign tumor has none of those properties. Uses of "malignant" in oncology:
malignant in Danish: Malign
malignant in German: Malignität
malignant in Japanese: 悪性 (医学)
malignant in Slovenian: Malignost
malignant in Serbian: Малигни
malignant in Swedish: Malign
malignant in Polish: Nowotwór złośliwy

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

acrid, allergic, anemic, antagonistic, antipathetic, apoplectic, arthritic, atrocious, baleful, baneful, barbaric, barbarous, belligerent, bestial, bilious, bitchy, bitter, bloody, brutal, brutish, cancerous, catching, caustic, chlorotic, clashing, colicky, colliding, communicable, conflicting, consumptive, contagious, corroding, corrosive, corrupting, corruptive, counterproductive, cussed, damaging, deadly, death-bringing, deathful, deathly, deleterious, despiteful, destructive, detrimental, devilish, diabolical, disadvantageous, disserviceable, distressing, dropsical, dyspeptic, edematous, encephalitic, envenomed, epileptic, evil, fatal, feral, ferine, ferocious, fiendish, fierce, full of hate, harmful, hateful, hostile, hurtful, infectious, infective, inhuman, iniquitous, injurious, internecine, invidious, kill-crazy, killing, laryngitic, leprous, lethal, luetic, malarial, malefic, maleficent, malevolent, malicious, malign, mean, measly, mephitic, merciless, miasmal, miasmatic, miasmic, mischievous, mortal, murderous, nasty, nephritic, neuralgic, neuritic, noisome, noncivilized, noxious, ominous, ornery, palsied, paralytic, pernicious, pestiferous, pestilential, phthisic, pitiless, pleuritic, pneumonic, pocky, podagric, poisonous, prejudicial, quarrelsome, rachitic, rancorous, repugnant, rheumatic, rickety, ruthless, sanguinary, savage, scatheful, scorbutic, scrofulous, set against, sore, spiteful, tabetic, tabid, tameless, toxic, toxicant, toxiferous, tubercular, tuberculous, tumorigenic, tumorous, uncivilized, ungentle, untamed, venenate, veneniferous, venenous, venomous, vicious, virulent, vitriolic, wicked, wild
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