sinister
Pronunciation
  • (RP) IPA: /ˈsɪnɪstə/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈsɪnɪstɚ/
Adjective

sinister

  1. Inauspicious, ominous, unlucky, illegitimate (as in bar sinister).
    • 1611, Ben Jonson, Catiline His Conspiracy
      All the several ills that visit earth, / Brought forth by night, with a sinister birth.
  2. Evil or seemingly evil; indicating lurking danger or harm.
    sinister influences
    the sinister atmosphere of the crypt
  3. Of the left side.
    • c. 1604–1605, William Shakespeare, “All’s VVell, that Ends VVell”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene i]:
      Here on his sinister cheek.
    • c. 1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Troylus and Cressida”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene v]:
      My mother's blood / Runs on the dexter cheek, and this sinister / Bounds in my father's.
    • 1911, Saki, ‘The Unrest-Cure’, The Chronicles of Clovis:
      Before the train had stopped he had decorated his sinister shirt-cuff with the inscription, ‘J. P. Huddle, The Warren, Tilfield, near Slowborough.’
  4. (heraldry) On the left side of a shield from the wearer's standpoint, and the right side to the viewer.
  5. (obsolete) Wrong, as springing from indirection or obliquity; perverse; dishonest.
    • 1612, Francis Bacon, Of Judicature
      Nimble and sinister tricks and shifts.
    • He scorns to undermine another's interest by any sinister or inferior arts.
    • 1822, [Walter Scott], The Pirate. [...] In Three Volumes, volume (please specify ), Edinburgh: Printed [by James Ballantyne and Co.] for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co., OCLC 779274973 ↗:
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