Adjective "insidious" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


Proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with very harmful effects.
  1. 'It need by no means be obvious: it can be insidious and subtle.'
  2. 'The most insidious marketing comes from the baby food companies.'
  3. 'There was the slow, insidious change from fresh-faced beauty to freak.'
  4. 'An offshoot of ventriloquist journalism, these are one of the more insidious forms of misinformation.'
  5. 'Yet the incursions on free speech can be insidious and imperceptible.'
  6. 'The onset is more insidious in brain tumors and the progress to vomiting is gradual.'
  7. 'Increases in childhood obesity and insidious health problems are, we suspect, linked to an increased consumption of junk food.'
  8. 'Their approach tends to be more subtle - and perhaps even more insidious.'
  9. 'Nuclear disc lesions are of gradual or insidious onset, the history may be on and off back pain for weeks and back pain getting worse.'
  10. 'The propaganda is so insidious in the Murdoch press you can't even distinguish between news and opinion.'


1. intended to entrap or beguile: an insidious plan.

2. stealthily treacherous or deceitful: an insidious enemy.

3. operating or proceeding in an inconspicuous or seemingly harmless way but actually with grave effect: an insidious disease.

More examples(as adjective)

"sell-offs can be insidious in ways."

"factors can be insidious to controls."

"effects can be insidious."

"kinds can be insidious."

"diseases can be insidious."

More examples++


Mid 16th century: from Latin insidiosus ‘cunning’, from insidiae ‘an ambush or trick’, from insidere ‘lie in wait for’, from in- ‘on’ + sedere ‘sit’.