1. Enmity of heart; malevolence; ill will; a spirit delighting in harm or misfortune to another; a disposition to injure another; a malignant design of evil. Nor set down aught in malice. Envy, hatred, and malice are three distinct passions of the mind. (ld. Holt)
2. Any wicked or mischievous intention of the mind; a depraved inclination to mischief; an intention to vex, annoy, or injure another person, or to do a wrongful act without just cause or cause or excuse; a wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others; willfulness. Malice aforethought or prepense, malice previously and deliberately entertained.
Synonym: spite, ill will, malevolence, grudge, pique, bitterness, animosity, malignity, maliciousness, rancor, virulence.
see spite. Malevolence, malignity, malignancy. Malice is a stronger word than malevolence, which may imply only a desire that evil may befall another, while malice desires, and perhaps intends, to bring it about. Malignity is intense and deepseated malice. It implies a natural delight in hating and wronging others. One who is malignant must be both malevolent and malicious; but a man may be malicious without being malignant. Proud tyrants who maliciously destroy And ride o’er ruins with malignant joy. (Somerville) in some connections, malignity seems rather more pertinently applied to a radical depravity of nature, and malignancy to indications of this depravity, in temper and conduct in particular instances. (Cogan)
Origin: f. Malice, fr. L. Malitia, from malus bad, ill, evil, prob. Orig, dirty, black; cf. Gr. Black, Skr. Mala dirt. Cf. Mauger.