• IPA: /ˈbeɪl.fəl/


  1. Portending evil; ominous.
    • 1873, James Thomson (B.V.), The City of Dreadful Night
      The street-lamps burn amid the baleful glooms,
      Amidst the soundless solitudes immense
      Of ranged mansions dark and still as tombs.
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1943, Chapter XII, p. 194,
      […] he went off alone with his family, and, watched by the day's red baleful eye, pumped the pump-car homeward, […]
    • 1949, Naomi Replansky, “Complaint of the Ignorant Wizard” in Ring Song (published 1952):
      I learned the speech of birds; now every tree
      Screams out to me a baleful prophecy.
  2. Miserable, wretched, distressed, suffering.
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost (Book I), line 56
      round he throws his baleful eyes, that witnessed huge affliction and dismay ...

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