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From Middle English, from Old French pernicios, from Latin perniciōsus (destructive), from perniciēs (destruction), from per (through) + nex (slaughter, death).



pernicious (comparative more pernicious, superlative most pernicious)

  1. Causing much harm in a subtle way.
    • 1911, Emma Goldman, The Hypocrisy of Puritanism
      Puritanism no longer employs the thumbscrew and lash; but it still has a most pernicious hold on the minds and feelings of the American people.
    • 2017 March 22, Jacob Kastrenakes, “Medium launches memberships for $5 per month”, in The Verge[1]:
      In January, the company laid off a third of its staff and renounced ads as a pernicious influence on the world, without mentioning that Google and Facebook are so good at ads there’s hardly room for anyone else to compete.
  2. Causing death or injury; deadly.
    Synonyms: attery

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