\ 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 From California to Georgia to New York, cases that caught our attention are vile and require us to unite to disband the resurgence of hate in all forms. Simone Morris, Forbes, "Get Motivated To Fight Anti Asian-American Bias," 28 Apr. 2021 The plot centers around a small-town beauty pageant and the great, vile lengths people will go to win. Patricia Garcia, Vogue, "The 20 Best Cult Movies of the ’90s," 28 Apr. 2021 Hutchinson governs and rejects the vile tone and divisiveness of this legislative session. John Brummett, Arkansas Online, "Wanted: Change of culture," 25 Apr. 2021 Kim said the controversy over her remarks is largely a social media frenzy, where she’s been criticized, attacked and often insulted with vile remarks. Dallas News, "Candidates in 23-person race to replace Ron Wright using different tactics to reach voters," 19 Apr. 2021 The vile rhetoric contained in this screed is simply unacceptable. Los Angeles Times, "Former HFPA president faces a backlash over email calling Black Lives Matter a ‘hate movement’," 19 Apr. 2021 Gaetz is under federal investigation and is a pretty vile character. Andy Hoglund,, "Saturday Night Live recap: Daniel Kaluuya makes his hosting debut," 4 Apr. 2021 Richardson trained at the Second City, and his comedy background balanced out a character who plays particularly vile on the page, keeping the film from tipping into an outright drama. Nate Jones, Vulture, "How Promising Young Woman Turned Millennial Icons Into Toxic Nice Guys," 1 Apr. 2021 Even the word socialite is probably vile to someone like Frances. Lindsey Bahr, Star Tribune, "Review: Michelle Pfeiffer has a feast with 'French Exit'," 30 Mar. 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

Statistics for vile

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!