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Key Difference – Wicked vs Evil

The two adjectives wicked and evil both have similar meanings; they both mean immoral or sinful. However, the adjective wicked also has some alternative meanings which sometimes have a very different meaning from evil. The key difference between wicked and evil is that wicked can have connotations of mischief, playfulness whereas evil is indicative is malevolence, immorality and sin.

What Does Wicked Mean?

As explained above, wicked has several different meanings. Wicked can mean,

Immoral or evil

The wicked man laughed as he saw the kittens drowns.

Don’t listen to the wicked thoughts inside your head.                            

No one is born wicked or evil; it is our circumstances that make us   wicked.

Everyone condemned this wicked act of cruelty.

Playfully mischievous or malicious

She has a wicked sense of humour.

He gave me a wicked smile after his victory.

The wicked gleam in his eyes warned that he was up to something.

Severe and distressing

He has a wicked cough.

A wicked gash ran from his forehead to nose.

Highly offensive

What is this wicked smell?

A wicked odour was coming from the closed room.

Wicked is also used in slang to mean wonderful or excellent. However, this usage is restricted to informal usage. For example,

The last episode was wicked awesome.

She makes wicked lasagnas.

Difference Between Wicked and Evil

The wicked witch came out of her cottage.

What Does Evil Mean?

Evil means immoral, sinful and malevolent. We generally use this adjective to describe truly bad, cruel people or actions.

A black crow is considered as an evil omen.

An evil spirit inhabited the castle and drove out the newcomers.  

The act of killing innocent children is a truly evil and cruel deed.

The people though the old witch was evil, dark and immoral.

She vowed that she’d punish his evil deeds one day.

The evil king beheaded all the children in his kingdom.

The evil witch gave her a potion that would put her to a never-ending sleep.

Key Difference - Wicked vs Evil

See no evil hear no evil speak no evil

What is the difference between Wicked and Evil?


Wicked can mean

  • Immoral or evil
  • Playfully mischievous or malicious
  • Severe or distressing
  • Highly offensive

Evil means immoral, sinful or malevolent.

Positive Meaning:

Wicked is sometimes used in slang to mean excellent.

Evil is always used in a negative sense.


Wicked is less intense and immoral than evil.

Evil is more immoral and sinful than wicked.

 Image Courtesy:

“Wicked Witch of the East” By Jonathan R. Neill – The Tin Woodman of Oz (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia