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
5 : defective, faulty also : invalid

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 In Ridley Scott’s canny and engrossing movie, an Italian luxury brand and a family are brought low by greed, fraud and vicious infighting, plus a notorious black widow. Laura Blasey, Los Angeles Times, 24 Nov. 2021 Fighting to stay out of the system, these troubled cooks are worked to the bone by their cantankerous boss Clyde (Uzo Aduba), a vicious egotist who takes her self-loathing out on her employees. Bon Appétit, 23 Nov. 2021 But the dinosaurs’ vicious side soon comes out when two T-Rexes fight to the death before the prologue jumps back into the present. Selome Hailu, Variety, 23 Nov. 2021 But Duvernay could get very little going on kickoff returns and took some vicious hits. Mike Preston, baltimoresun.com, 21 Nov. 2021 The woman was cited for allowing her dog to run at large, and for ownership of a vicious dog. cleveland, 19 Nov. 2021 Hank Thomas shares the story of how the Riders' journey descended into hours of vicious violence in Alabama, where federal law enforcement knowingly allowed local police to collaborate with the Ku Klux Klan. Claire Thornton, USA TODAY, 17 Nov. 2021 The teens not only navigate lingering feelings from their past romance and a longtime blood feud, but are forced to work together to end a vicious madness that threatens Shanghai. Sam Gillette, PEOPLE.com, 17 Nov. 2021 Proof of work creates the vicious/virtuous circle of a cost/price arms race, but ‘proof of stake’ not so much. Clem Chambers, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near vicious

vicinity

vicious

vicious circle

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Statistics for vicious

Last Updated

26 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vicious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vicious. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for vicious

vicious

adjective

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

More from Merriam-Webster on vicious

Nglish: Translation of vicious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vicious for Arabic Speakers

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