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The word nefarious has been in use since the turn of the seventeenth century. We will examine the meaning of the word nefarious, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Nefarious means a thought or especially an action that is evil, wicked, unlawful, immoral or villainous. The word nefarious carries a connotation of underhandedness or of circumventing that which is proper. Nefarious is often used to describe a criminal or notorious official of some sort. Related words are nefariously and nefariousness. The word nefarious is derived from the Latin word nefas, meaning something wrong, an impiety or a crime. Nefas comes from the Latin prefix ne- meaning not, and fas which lawful or divinely correct.


“The threat is not necessarily that they’re going to break into ballot boxes and change the outcome of an election,” Rubio said. “The threat is much more nefarious than that.” (The Jacksonville Business Journal)

But all ultimately used their writing to nefarious ends to gain control over the citizens or subjects of the countries and areas they came to rule. (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Coleman began by saying that certain words have “overwhelmingly negative consequences” to children, but only one of his nefarious nine met my never-say standard. (The Pueblo Chieftan)

“These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. (The Los Angeles Daily News)

The big story last week was that Facebook lost control of personal data belonging to 50 million Americans — information apparently used nefariously by “data harvesters” to influence the 2016 election. (The Greenville Daily Reflector)