An example of something baleful is a powerful hurricane.
- harmful or threatening harm or evil; ominous; deadly
- Archaic sorrowful; wretched
Origin of balefulMiddle English from Old English bealoful from bealu, bale + -ful, full
- Portending evil; ominous: The guard's baleful glare frightened the children.
- Harmful or malignant in intent or effect: a baleful influence.
Origin of balefulMiddle English from Old English bealoful bealu bale, evil -ful -ful ; see -ful .
Usage Note: Baleful and baneful overlap in meaning, but baleful usually applies to something that is menacing or foreshadows evil: a baleful look. Baneful most often describes that which is actually harmful or destructive: baneful effects of their foreign policy.
(comparative more baleful, superlative most baleful)
From Old English bealofull.