- The definition of sinister is a person or thing that threatens harm or misfortune.
- An example of sinister is behavior like that of Hitler.
- An example of sinister is weather such as a tornado.
- Archaic on, to, or toward the left-hand side; left
- Heraldry on the left side of a shield (the right as seen by the viewer)
- threatening harm, evil, or misfortune; ominous; portentous: sinister storm clouds
- wicked, evil, or dishonest, esp. in some dark, mysterious way: a sinister plot
- most unfavorable or unfortunate; disastrous: met a sinister fate
Origin of sinisterMiddle English sinistre ; from Classical Latin sinister, left-hand, or unlucky (side), origin, originally lucky (side) ; from Indo-European base an unverified form sene-, to prepare, achieve from source Sanskrit sánīyān, more favorable: early Roman augurs faced south, with the east (lucky side) to the left, but the Greeks (followed by later Romans) faced north
- a. Suggesting or threatening harm or evil: a sinister smile.b. Causing or intending harm or evil; wicked: a sinister conspiracy.
- a. Portending misfortune or disaster; ominous: sinister storm clouds.b. Attended by or causing misfortune or disaster: “The day has passed without any sinister accident” (John Quincy Adams).
- a. Archaic On the left side; left.b. Heraldry Situated on or being the side of a shield on the wearer's left and the observer's right.
Origin of sinisterMiddle English sinistre, unfavorable, from Old French, from Latin sinister, on the left, unlucky.
(comparative more sinister, superlative most sinister)
- Inauspicious, ominous, unlucky, illegitimate (as in bar sinister).
- Evil or seemingly evil; indicating lurking danger or harm.
- sinister influences
- the sinister atmosphere of the crypt
- Of the left side.
- (heraldry) On the left side of a shield from the wearer's standpoint, and the right side to the viewer.
- He scorns to undermine another's interest by any sinister or inferior arts.
- Sir Walter Scott
- He read in their looks […] sinister intentions directed particularly toward himself.