vicious

adjective
vi·​cious | \ ˈvi-shəs How to pronounce vicious (audio) \

Definition of vicious

1a : dangerously aggressive : savage a vicious dog
b : marked by violence or ferocity : fierce a vicious fight
2 : malicious, spiteful vicious gossip
3 : worsened by internal causes that reciprocally augment each other a vicious wage-price spiral
4 : having the nature or quality of vice or immorality : depraved

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Other Words from vicious

viciously adverb
viciousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for vicious

vicious, villainous, iniquitous, nefarious, corrupt, degenerate mean highly reprehensible or offensive in character, nature, or conduct. vicious may directly oppose virtuous in implying moral depravity, or may connote malignancy, cruelty, or destructive violence. a vicious gangster villainous applies to any evil, depraved, or vile conduct or characteristic. a villainous assault iniquitous implies absence of all signs of justice or fairness. an iniquitous system of taxation nefarious suggests flagrant breaching of time-honored laws and traditions of conduct. the nefarious rackets of organized crime corrupt stresses a loss of moral integrity or probity causing betrayal of principle or sworn obligations. city hall was rife with corrupt politicians degenerate suggests having sunk to an especially vicious or enervated condition. a degenerate regime propped up by foreign powers

Examples of vicious in a Sentence

Challenging areas of social consensus, however dumb or even vicious the consensus, is largely off limits for the media, because it wins no friends among the general public. — Richard A. Posner, New York Times Book Review, 31 July 2005 The genetically vicious nature of presidential campaigns in America is too obvious to argue with, but some people call it fun, and I am one of them. — Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Rolling Stone, 11 Nov. 2004 True to Finals form, this hardwood battle has become as vicious as any street scrum. — Anne Marie Cruz, ESPN, 24 June 2002 For most of my life I have retained a haunting image from an old Tarzan movie: piranhas, those vicious little fish with the arrowhead-shaped teeth, devouring a pig. Forget that there are no piranha in Africa. But they do exist in Brazil, in abundance in the meandering waterways of the Amazon Basin. — Gerald Eskenazi, New York Times, 6 Oct. 2002 The Olympics always seemed too much like war, vicious old men manipulating youngsters hungry for fame into performing heroic acts for short change. — Robert Lipsyte, New York Times, 29 July 2001 His slider—a vicious, hard-breaking pitch with which he finished off right-handed hitters for years—was inconsistent and benign, and the velocity of his fastball was diminished. — Buster Olney, New York Times Magazine, 4 Mar. 2001 a vicious tone of voice I know you're upset with her, but there's no need to be vicious.
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Recent Examples on the Web At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in vicious hand-to-hand combat on a ridge about 14,000-feet above sea level. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "Why did India just ban TikTok?," 29 June 2020 Porter’s vicious two-handed dunk in transition against the Brooklyn Nets. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Kevin Porter Jr. shows potential to be franchise building block: Cleveland Cavaliers Season Review," 29 June 2020 Sumlin quickly dismissed Marchiol at Arizona following the discovery of the vicious remarks on the video. Brent Zwerneman, ExpressNews.com, "A&M’s Keldrick Carper relishes impact he can have on kids," 23 June 2020 And coronaviruses often undergo mutations and other genetic changes that can transform a benign strain into a vicious pathogen. National Geographic, "On the hunt for the next deadly virus," 16 June 2020 Of Hank Aaron besting the Babe’s home run record in Atlanta — the home of Martin Luther King Jr. — in the face of constant and vicious death threats. Anonymous Mlb Player, Detroit Free Press, "MLB player makes plea for 2020 season: Let us play for the common good," 6 June 2020 The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 came in the tracks of Bull Connor’s vicious dogs. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "Joe Biden’s George Floyd speech references Birmingham’s Bull Connor," 3 June 2020 James, 40, born and raised in Detroit, was just 13 when Malice Green died in 1992, the same year that four Los Angeles cops were acquitted of the vicious beating of Rodney King — another awful moment caught on camera. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit artist creates Malice Green mural that honors lost lives of black men and women," 14 June 2020 These comments from my colleague and fellow BART Board Director Debora Allen are vicious, toxic, and racist. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "A national reckoning over police violence hits BART, again," 13 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vicious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of vicious

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for vicious

Middle English, from Anglo-French vicios, from Latin vitiosus full of faults, corrupt, from vitium vice

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Time Traveler for vicious

Time Traveler

The first known use of vicious was in the 14th century

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Statistics for vicious

Last Updated

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vicious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vicious. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for vicious

vicious

adjective
How to pronounce vicious (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vicious

: very violent and cruel
: very dangerous
: having or showing very angry or cruel feelings

vicious

adjective
vi·​cious | \ ˈvi-shəs How to pronounce vicious (audio) \

Kids Definition of vicious

1 : very dangerous a vicious dog
2 : filled with or showing unkind feelings vicious gossip
3 : violent and cruel a vicious attack
4 : very severe a vicious storm

Other Words from vicious

viciously adverb
viciousness noun

vicious

adjective
vi·​cious | \ ˈvish-əs How to pronounce vicious (audio) \

Medical Definition of vicious

1 : dangerously aggresive a vicious dog
2 : of, relating to, or being perverse or abnormal behavior in a domestic animal

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More from Merriam-Webster on vicious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vicious

Spanish Central: Translation of vicious

Nglish: Translation of vicious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vicious for Arabic Speakers

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