\ˈvī(-ə)l \
viler\ˈvī-lər \; vilest\ˈvī-ləst \

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 \ 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

In fact, these are the worst, most vile offenders against civility. Fox News, "Kellyanne Conway responds to Democrats' calls to abolish ICE," 3 July 2018 In a letter to residents of the 33 Harry Agganis Way building, Kenneth Elmore, dean of students and associate provost, described the message as vile and an attack on the BU community. Susan Svrluga, Washington Post, "Racist message about the Super Bowl found scrawled at Boston University dorm," 8 Feb. 2018 The commander in chief in an Oval Office meeting referring to people from African countries and Haitians with the most vile and vulgar language. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "Sen. Cory Booker's statement reflects the sentiments of many black Americans in the Trump era," 16 Jan. 2018 Well, Samantha Bee's vile comment about Ivanka Trump that sparked outrage, this coming just one day after Roseanne Barr tweeted a racist remark about former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett. Fox News, "Lewandowski on chances Trump will sit down with Mueller; Larry Kudlow talks North Korea summit, trade," 3 June 2018 And, after a strong response from the Liverpool Echo, which labelled Mafham's piece 'vile, presumptuous and repugnant' and Liverpool city mayor Joe Anderson, the newspaper issued a public statement apologising unreservedly., "Daily Express Apologises to Liverpool Over 'Ill-Informed & Wrong' Response to Attack on Innocent Fan," 27 Apr. 2018 The Red Hen is now being openly targeted and harassed by vile Trump fanboys. Drew Magary, GQ, "There Is Bravery in Each Other," 3 July 2018 There is no evidence that this vile concept has gotten any traction anywhere, thankfully. Frank Rich, Daily Intelligencer, "Rot on the Right, Green Shoots on the Left," 28 June 2018 Now, despite all this vile, all this hatred, all this insanity, the president is still ready, willing and able, and eager actually to address what is Congress' broken immigration system. Fox News, "Rep. Meadows says subpoenas forthcoming over Russia probe," 22 June 2018

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

Statistics for vile

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vile

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vile



English Language Learners Definition of vile

: evil or immoral

: very bad or unpleasant


\ˈvīl \
viler; vilest

Kids Definition of vile

1 : wicked sense 1 a vile deed

2 : very bad or unpleasant a vile smell

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on vile

What made you want to look up vile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a generally accepted meaning of a word

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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