\ ˈvī(-ə)l How to pronounce vile (audio) \
viler\ ˈvī-​lər How to pronounce viler (audio) \; vilest\ ˈvī-​ləst How to pronounce vilest (audio) \

Definition of vile

1a : 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

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Other Words from vile

vilely \ ˈvī(-​ə)l-​lē How to pronounce vilely (audio) \ adverb
vileness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of vile in a Sentence

a vile and cowardly act What is that vile odor? His comments were positively vile. She has a vile temper.
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Recent Examples on the Web The narrative was a perfect fit for some: Rich, white kids flexing their privilege in a vile way. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: Big night for UC, Xavier basketball with six weeks left to audition," 23 Jan. 2020 That framing encourages the audience to ponder the limits of Atticus’s impulse to empathize even with vile racists like Bob Ewell, a man who’s trying to pin his own assault of his daughter Mayella on Tom. David Sims, The Atlantic, "What It Means to Stage To Kill a Mockingbird in 2019," 17 Dec. 2019 McCarthy and several editors and reporters at The Capital had long been targeted by Ramos with vile and abusive assaults on Twitter, the records show. John Holland, baltimoresun.com, "Records unsealed in Capital Gazette case offer glimpse of killer’s possible prosecution and defense," 5 Nov. 2019 Radical activists freely trafficked in vile and anti-police hostility, and criminals grew only more emboldened as a result. chicagotribune.com, "Read the official transcript of President Trump’s remarks at the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in Chicago," 28 Oct. 2019 People trafficking is a vile and dangerous business. Tara John, CNN, "39 bodies found in a truck container in southeast England," 23 Oct. 2019 Car theft in a place as vast the Texas Panhandle is also a pretty vile, low-down kind of crime. Eve Macsweeney, Vogue, "In Randy Kennedy’s Presidio, a Startling Road Trip Thriller Full of Twists and Turns," 17 Aug. 2018 The fairy tale of the poor happily making music in their shanties is a vile myth. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: One can be thankful for much even amid pessimism," 1 Dec. 2019 At speech Tuesday on ‘‘race and faith,’’ Corbyn said: ‘‘anti-Semitism in any form is vile and wrong. BostonGlobe.com, "LONDON — The chief rabbi in Britain launched a blistering rebuke of the Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday, saying anti-Semitism was a ‘‘poison’’ inside the party and raising deep worries about the country’s ‘‘moral compass’’ if Labour wins next month’s elections.," 27 Nov. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of vile

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for vile

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

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Time Traveler for vile

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for vile

Last Updated

28 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Vile.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vile. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for vile

How to pronounce vile (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vile

: evil or immoral
: very bad or unpleasant
\ ˈvīl How to pronounce vile (audio) \
viler; vilest

Kids Definition of vile

1 : wicked sense 1 a vile deed
2 : very bad or unpleasant a vile smell

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More from Merriam-Webster on vile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vile

Spanish Central: Translation of vile

Nglish: Translation of vile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vile for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about vile

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