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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from vile

vilely \ ˈvī(-​ə)l-​lē How to pronounce vile (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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Athletes say something, their words can be taken out of context or shortened, their off-the-cuff remarks get amplified on social media, and a faction of the public reacts - often with vile comments. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 31 May 2021 On the other hand, Piotr points out that vile comments made online by men’s rights activists and incels about women do sometimes result in violence. Vicky Spratt,, 23 Apr. 2021 Carlson peddles vile anti-immigrant rhetoric (as Greenwald did, early in his blogging career) and has expressed support for replacement theory, in which, according to its adherents, the white population of this country is threatened. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 2 July 2021 The vile notion of white supremacy and its attendant hatreds has migrated from the shadows into the open in the past few years., 30 June 2021 One of the company’s co-owners criticized DeBerry on Instagram, prompting respondents to make all manner of vile comments about the county commissioner. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, 22 June 2021 This is due largely to a great cast—from Hervé Pierre’s vile money-hungry businessman Pelligrini, Antoine Gouy’s portrayal of loyal friend Benjamin Ferel, to its charismatic leading star Omar Sy of course who creates a captivating character. Sheena Scott, Forbes, 12 June 2021 Another day, another allegation of vile abuse on the part of singer Marilyn Manson, the stage name of Brian Warner. Halle Kiefer, Vulture, 28 May 2021 The journalists who have been targeted by these kinds of attacks — especially women and people of color — best understand the insidious techniques, vile motivations and health-threatening repercussions. Washington Post, 27 May 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About vile

Time Traveler for vile

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near vile




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for vile

Last Updated

19 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vile



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

More from Merriam-Webster on vile

Nglish: Translation of vile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vile for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about vile


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!