baleful O.E. bealu-full "dire, wicked, cruel," from bealu "harm, injury, ruin, evil, mischief, wickedness, a noxious thing," from P.Gmc. *balwom (Cf. O.S. balu, O.Fris. balu "evil," O.H.G. balo "destruction," O.N. bol, Gothic balwjan "to torment"), from PIE root *bheleu- "to beat." During Anglo-Saxon times, the noun was in poetic use only (e.g. bealubenn "mortal wound," bealuðonc "evil thought"), and for long baleful was extinct, but it was revived by modern romantic poets. Related: Balefully.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • baleful — baleful, baneful These two somewhat literary words are not much used in everyday language; baleful is slightly better known perhaps than baneful. Since they overlap in meaning, they tend to be confused. Baleful (from bale, ‘misery’) means ‘having …   Modern English usage

  • Baleful — Bale ful (b[=a]l f[.u]l), a. [AS. bealoful. See {Bale} misery.] 1. Full of deadly or pernicious influence; destructive. Baleful enemies. Shak. [1913 Webster] Four infernal rivers that disgorge Into the burning lake their baleful streams. Milton.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • baleful — I adjective bad, baneful, calamitous, damaging, dangerous, deadly, deleterious, despiteful, destructive, detrimental, dire, disadvantageous, evil, harmful, heinous, hurtful, ill omened, inauspicious, insalubrious, lethal, malefic, malevolent,… …   Law dictionary

  • baleful — maleficent, malefic, malign, *sinister Analogous words: threatening, menacing (see THREATEN): *ominous, portentous, fateful: hellish, *infernal: diabolical, *fiendish, devilish Antonyms: beneficent Contrasted words: * …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • baleful — [adj] menacing calamitous, deadly, dire, evil, foreboding, harmful, hurtful, injurious, malevolent, malignant, noxious, ominous, pernicious, ruinous, sinister, threatening, venomous, vindictive, woeful; concepts 537,570 Ant. advantageous,… …   New thesaurus

  • baleful — ► ADJECTIVE 1) menacing. 2) having a harmful effect. DERIVATIVES balefully adverb. ORIGIN from an Old English word meaning evil …   English terms dictionary

  • baleful — [bāl′fəl] adj. [ME < OE bealoful < bealu,BALE2 + ful, full] 1. harmful or threatening harm or evil; ominous; deadly 2. Archaic sorrowful; wretched SYN. SINISTER balefully adv. balefulness n …   English World dictionary

  • baleful — adjective Date: before 12th century 1. deadly or pernicious in influence < baleful effects > 2. foreboding or threatening evil < a baleful look > Synonyms: see sinister • balefully adverb • ba …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • baleful — [[t]be͟ɪlfʊl[/t]] ADJ GRADED: usu ADJ n Baleful means harmful, or expressing harmful intentions. [LITERARY] He had a baleful look. Derived words: balefully ADV ADV with v He watched balefully as Cassandra walked towards him …   English dictionary

  • baleful — adjective /beɪlfəl/ a) Portending evil; ominous. round he throws his baleful eyes, that witnessed huge affliction and dismay. b) Miserable, wretched, distressed, suffering …   Wiktionary

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