malignant




For something that’s very harmful, especially a tumor that’s cancerous, use the term malignant.

Malignant and its opposite benign are medical terms used to describe a tumor or growth as either cancerous or not respectively. The gn part of both words comes from the Latin word for born, but the word root mal means “evil,” while bene means “kind.” A malignant tumor grows uncontrollably and spreads to other parts of the body. Less commonly, malignant can also be used to mean “evil or malicious,” like when someone has a malignant imagination.

Definitions of malignant
  1. adjective

    dangerous to health; characterized by progressive and uncontrolled growth (especially of a tumor)

    Synonyms:

    cancerous

    relating to or affected with cancer
    see moresee less

    Antonyms:

    benign

    not dangerous to health; not recurrent or progressive (especially of a tumor)

Word Family