Definition of vicious
3 : worsened by internal causes that reciprocally augment each other a vicious wage-price spiral
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 October 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.
Recent Examples of vicious from the Web
But within a month of that meeting, and just 10 days after his second birthday, Khalil was dead, a victim of a vicious blow — or blows — to the stomach.
For most of his career, Noriega was an exemplar of a certain kind of American intervention in Latin America: The lawless, vicious leader whom the U.S. cultivated and propped up despite clear and serious flaws.
Penelope Lively has a wry ability to skewer – and the generosity to pull back before things get vicious.
Early Monday morning, in the hours after his team had returned home from a 10-day road trip, Danny Duffy awoke to a vicious pain in his right side.
A vicious cycle starts, where the pancreas pumps out more insulin in a futile effort to reduce blood sugar levels while the cells starved of fuel needed for energy production send out signals for the body to eat more.
Yet Durant has engaged more fully in the Warriors’ offense as this season has worn on, to the point where Golden State now has a vicious back-cutter and ball-mover who just so happens to be a former MVP.
Dias had been accused of atrocities in his own country’s vicious civil war.
Halfway through the vicious gunbattle with San Bernardino terrorists Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, police officer Nick Koahou felt a pain in his left thigh.
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.
Origin and Etymology of vicious
Middle English, from Anglo-French vicios, from Latin vitiosus full of faults, corrupt, from vitium vice
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of vicious
VICIOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of vicious for English Language Learners
: very violent and cruel
: very dangerous
: having or showing very angry or cruel feelings
VICIOUS Defined for Kids
Definition of vicious for Students
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
Medical Definition of vicious
1: dangerously aggresive a vicious dog
2: of, relating to, or being perverse or abnormal behavior in a domestic animal
Seen and Heard
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