adjective \ ˈvī(-ə)l \

Definition of vile

viler play \ˈvī-lər\; vilest play \ˈvī-ləst\
1 a : morally despicable or abhorrent
  • nothing is so vile as intellectual dishonesty
b : physically repulsive : foul
  • a vile slum
2 : of little worth or account : common; also : mean
3 : tending to degrade
  • vile employments
4 : disgustingly or utterly bad : obnoxious, contemptible
  • vile weather
  • had a vile temper


play \ˈvī(-ə)l-lē\ adverb



Examples of vile in a Sentence

  1. a vile and cowardly act

  2. What is that vile odor?

  3. His comments were positively vile.

  4. She has a vile temper.

Recent Examples of vile from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of vile

Middle English, from Anglo-French vil, from Latin vilis

vile Synonyms

black, dark, evil, immoral, iniquitous, nefarious, rotten, sinful, unethical, unlawful, unrighteous, unsavory, vicious, bad, villainous, wicked, wrong
decent, ethical, good, honest, honorable, just, moral, right, righteous, sublime, upright, virtuous
Related Words
base, contemptible, despicable, dirty, disreputable, evil-minded, ignoble, ill, infernal, low, mean, snide, sordid; atrocious, cruel, infamous, nasty; blamable, blameworthy, censurable, objectionable, obscene, offensive, reprehensible; corrupt, debased, debauched, degenerate, depraved, dissolute, libertine, loose, low-minded, perverted, reprobate, scrofulous, sick, unhealthy; cursed (also curst), cussed, defiling, noxious, pernicious, pestilential, ugly, ungodly, unwholesome; banned, barred, condemned, discouraged, forbidden, illegal, interdicted, outlawed, prohibited, proscribed, unauthorized, unclean; disallowed; execrable, lousy, miserable, wretched; errant, erring, fallen, unprincipled, unscrupulous; improper, incorrect, indecent, indecorous, naughty, unbecoming, unseemly, vulgar; dishonest, dishonorable
Near Antonyms
elevated, high, high-minded, law-abiding, legitimate, lofty, noble, principled, reputable, scrupulous; allowed, authorized, legal, licensed, permissible, permitted; approved, endorsed (also indorsed), sanctioned; abetted, encouraged, promoted, supported; clean, correct, decent, decorous, exemplary, proper, seemly; blameless, commendable, creditable, guiltless, legitimate; chaste, immaculate, incorruptible, innocent, inoffensive, irreproachable, lily-white, perfect, pure, spotless, squeaky-clean, uncorrupted, unerring, unfallen, unobjectionable, venerable, white, wholesome; esteemed, respected, upstanding, worthy

Synonym Discussion of vile

base, low, vile mean deserving of contempt because of the absence of higher values. base stresses the ignoble and may suggest cruelty, treachery, greed, or grossness.
    • base motives
low may connote crafty cunning, vulgarity, or immorality and regularly implies an outraging of one's sense of decency or propriety.
    • refused to listen to such low talk
vile, the strongest of these words, tends to suggest disgusting depravity or filth.
    • a vile remark

VILE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of vile for English Language Learners

  • : evil or immoral

  • : very bad or unpleasant

VILE Defined for Kids


adjective \ ˈvīl \

Definition of vile for Students

viler; vilest
1 : wicked 1
  • a vile deed
2 : very bad or unpleasant
  • a vile smell

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