noun | \ ˈma-ləs \ | mal·ice
  1. a : the intention or desire to cause harm (as death, bodily injury, or property damage) to another through an unlawful or wrongful act without justification or excuse

    b : wanton disregard for the rights of others or for the value of human life

    c : an improper or evil motive or purpose if malice cannot be proved or a benign purpose can be imagined —David Kairys

    dab ab : actual malice in this entry

    — actual malice
    : malice proved by evidence to exist or have existed in one that inflicts unjustified harm on another: as a : an intent to injure or kill b : malice 2 — called also express malice, malice in fact a : the knowledge that defamatory statements especially regarding a public figure are false b : reckless disregard of the truth — see also public figure, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan

    — implied malice
    : malice inferred from the nature or consequences of a harmful act done without justification or excuse; also : malice inferred from subjective awareness of duty or of the likely results of one's act — called also legal malice, malice in law

    — malice aforethought
    : actual or implied malice existing in or attributed to the intention of one that injures or especially kills without justification or excuse and usually requiring some degree of deliberation or premeditation or wanton disregard for life murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought —California Penal Code

    — malice in fact
    : actual malice in this entry

    — malice in law
    : implied malice in this entry

  1. : feelings of ill will, spite, or revenge

    Note: Such feelings are usually not an important component of malice in legal consideration unless punitive damages or actual malice is an issue.