Malice, ill will, malevolence, spite, despite, malignity, malignancy, spleen, grudge denote a feeling or a state of mind which leads one to desire that another or others should suffer pain or injury.
Malice usually implies a deep-seated and, often, an unjustified or unexplainable desire; it frequently carries an implication of an innate pleasure in doing evil, in inflicting injury, in seeing others suffer, or in wanton destruction.
Often, however, it may imply mischievousness or impishness rather than a hardened, vindictive nature. In law malice applies to the state of mind of one who willfully commits wrong, whether in full deliberation or out of hatred and a desire to inflict injury on another or out of the depravity of his nature.
Ill will and malevolence both imply an unfriendly attitude or state of mind that is rarely without some basis, real or fancied, and that need not, as malice so often does, lead to overt action.
Ill will applies to an attitude or state that is definite but measured and rarely involves any marked upheaval of mind.
Malevolence applies primarily to a bitter and rancorous ill will that affects the whole outlook of one possessed by it and that is both more persistent and more likely to seek outlet in malicious conduct than is ill will.
Spite suggests petty ill will and mean envy and resentment that often manifests itself in trivial harassments.
Despite (see under DESPISE ) in this sense is a rather uncommon or literary term that may imply more pride and disdain and less pettiness than spite.
Malignity and malignancy imply deep passion and relentless driving force.
Spleen implies deep-seated rancor combined with bad temper; it usually suggests wrathful release of latent spite or persistent malice and the wish to harm.
Grudge applies to cherished ill will against an individual which seeks satisfaction; it usually suggests deep resentment for some real or fancied slight or affront and, often, a determination to get even.