If a person is very evil some would say he is a devil.

Can anyone give me another word—devil sounds a bit strange to me.

  • 4
    There is no good synonym for devil. Devils are bad, remember? – Robusto Mar 26 '11 at 12:09
  • 1
    @Robusto: But surely, even devils have mommies who love them very much? – oosterwal Mar 26 '11 at 16:15
  • Hmm, fictional evil person... Skeletor? – Orbling Mar 26 '11 at 18:05
  • @Orbling Fictional characters are not interchangeable, not to mention that calling the devil 'fictional' is somewhat incendiary. – Aeon Akechi Nov 13 '16 at 4:33

10 Answers 10


Without knowing the context, it's hard to answer this.

Menace, villain, fiend, cad.


Personally, I'm partial to the term "hellion", but "troublemaker", "nogoodnik", "problem child", "rabble-rouser", "incendiary", and many other words already given are all good words.

  • By most people's lights, Hitler was a truly evil man, and they might thus have said he was a/the devil. Good as they are in other contexts, I don't think your words would be applied to Hitler. – FumbleFingers Nov 19 '11 at 1:55
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    If you've ever seen a video of Hitler giving a speech, I think you would have no trouble calling him an incendiary rabble-rouser. – Hellion Nov 19 '11 at 2:57
  • Ah, you got me with the most defendable one in the list! But in the broader historical context rabble-rousing isn't really what the man is usually remembered for, and it's not particularly indicative of what we mean when we say he was evil. – FumbleFingers Nov 19 '11 at 3:05
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    These words better describe Loki than Lucifer. – Phil N. Jan 30 '12 at 23:17
  • @PhilN. Very true. – Zoe May 24 '14 at 11:20

6 answers already and no one has suggested: Demon, Satan, Lucifer or even simply: "fallen".

  • ...Oops... typo – Cos Callis Jun 17 '11 at 22:34

Without more context, I quite like brute or beast; you can also go with monster, varmint, fiend, etc.

If you want to convey the meaning of mischievous, yet somewhat likeable, you could go with rascal, rogue, imp, or scamp.

  • +1 for monster, I think that is the best suggestion that people might use in normal speech. – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Nov 19 '11 at 2:59

Looking at what others have recommended, rapscallion may be appropriate.



Sense 1: evil (vs. good):
atrocious, flagitious, grievous, monstrous, bad, black, dark, sinister, corruptive, perversive, pestiferous, demonic, diabolic, diabolical, fiendish, hellish, infernal, satanic, unholy, despicable, ugly, vile, slimy, unworthy, worthless, wretched, devilish, diabolic, diabolical, mephistophelian, mephistophelean, evil-minded

Also See: bad; immoral; offensive; unrighteous; wicked; wrong

Sense 2: evil, vicious, wicked (vs. virtuous)

Sense 3: malefic, malevolent, malign, evil, maleficent (vs. beneficent)

  • Nice reference, but it's missing some commas. – Callithumpian Mar 26 '11 at 11:49

All the words I thought of were already mentioned with the exception of:

  • Knave
  • Miscreant
  • Scoundrel

Let's not forget the ever popular "bounder".

"Evil incarnate" may work if you're looking for something particularly strong.


Whilst not really synonymous with devil, a contemporary word which implies the immorality and depraved nature of an evil person is reprobate.


Apart from @Christi's evil incarnate, most existing answers imply people more "naughty" than truly "evil". And in this increasingly secular age, words like Demon, Satan, Lucifer are a bit odd.

Ongoing secularisation, liberalism, advances in psychology, etc., mean the defining characteristic evil that OP wants included is becoming harder to pin down. But I suggest the best word is...

psychopath - a person with a personality disorder characterized by a tendency to commit antisocial and sometimes violent acts and a failure to feel guilt for such acts.

  • I understood that a psychopath is, precisely, amoral, where evil is immoral. And if you talk to people who have encountered both (senior policemen, in my case), I think they will say that 'evil people' are quite different from 'those unrestrained by guilt'. – TimLymington Nov 19 '11 at 11:34
  • @TimLymington: As implied by my second paragraph, it's difficult to identify any examples of "evil" that meet everyone's definition of a word which some would argue has no real-world referent anyway. I'm not a psychologist, but I don't believe psychopathy is a precisely-defined "disease" which always includes the symptom "never feels guilt". Nor do I think the more general antisocial personality disorder excludes such people, or includes special subcategories for those who do feel guilt. – FumbleFingers Nov 19 '11 at 13:30

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