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
This week the cabinet infighting became so vicious that Theresa May, the prime minister, was forced to tell her ministers to shut up or ship out.
And so when a politician spews vicious, obvious lies on a near-daily basis — and directs a good portion of that venom at the free press itself — CNN’s anchors and reporters feel compelled to correct and condemn such mendacity.
Bad show — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017 The rest of the morning show segment focused on Trump's vicious Twitter attack on Brzezinski.
Affected plants have stunted, clubby stems with multitudes of vicious thorns.
And apparently their battles, especially the fights in the streets, were just as vicious as today’s.
Abrams sees mobilization itself as requiring its own kind of persuasion: persuading people who have no faith in politics to participate in it, breaking a vicious cycle.
There’s something so deeply wrong with both sides, with the smugness of the neoliberal kind of mainstream Democrat Party and something so deeply wrong with the sort of vicious hatred and polarization of the Republican wing.
These are some of the most vicious twisters to hit the U.S. in recorded history.
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
What made you want to look up vicious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).