Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.
1. Portending evil; ominous: The guard's baleful glare frightened the children.
2. Harmful or malignant in intent or effect: a baleful influence.
[Middle English, from Old English bealoful : bealu, bale, evil + -ful, -ful; see -ful.]
Usage Note: Baleful and baneful overlap in meaning, but baleful usually applies to something that is menacing or foreshadows evil: a baleful look. Baneful most often describes that which is actually harmful or destructive: baneful effects of their foreign policy.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||balefulness - the quality or nature of being harmful or evil|
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.