- addicted to or characterized by vice; grossly immoral; depraved; profligate: a vicious life.
- given or readily disposed to evil: a vicious criminal.
- reprehensible; blameworthy; wrong: a vicious deception.
- spiteful; malicious: vicious gossip; a vicious attack.
- unpleasantly severe: a vicious headache.
- characterized or marred by faults or defects; faulty; unsound: vicious reasoning.
- savage; ferocious: They all feared his vicious temper.
- (of an animal) having bad habits or a cruel or fierce disposition: a vicious bull.
- Archaic. morbid, foul, or noxious.
Origin of vicious
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for vicious
“Vicious pecking, avian hysteria, mysterious deaths, and even cannibalism” are the results, he writes.The History of the Chicken: How This Humble Bird Saved Humanity
December 27, 2014
The late-November hacking of Sony, perhaps the most vicious episode of its kind, comes at the end of the period of mourning.Kim Jong Un’s Kid Gloves Are Now Off
Gordon G. Chang
December 17, 2014
But most of all, Ramone lingered on Vicious, whom he painted and drew over and over again.‘All Good Cretins Go to Heaven’: Dee Dee Ramone’s Twisted Punk Paintings
December 15, 2014
She later sued him alleging a vicious cycle of abuse, and he settled with his ex-wife out of court for an undisclosed sum.Foxcatcher’s Real-Life Psycho Killer
November 18, 2014
A hulking defender breaks into the backfield and takes him down with a vicious clothesline tackle.Two New Films Preach Our Nation’s Corrosive Gridiron Gospel
September 20, 2014
But can the safety of the state be secured by merely excluding the vicious poor?Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
The fatuity of vicious and coroneted youth outstripped his discretion.Viviette
William J. Locke
Our steward was a Portuguese negro, of the most vicious and surly temper.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
Of all classes of our population the most vicious is that of the free colored.The Works of Whittier, Volume VII (of VII)
John Greenleaf Whittier
But Heman had climbed into the pung, and given Old Gameleg a vicious cut.Meadow Grass
- wicked or cruel; villainousa vicious thug
- characterized by violence or ferocitya vicious blow
- informal unpleasantly severe; harsha vicious wind
- characterized by malicevicious lies
- (esp of dogs, horses, etc) ferocious or hostile; dangerous
- characterized by or leading to vice
- invalidated by defects; unsounda vicious inference
- obsolete noxious or morbida vicious exhalation
Word Origin and History for vicious
early 14c. (implied in viciously), "of the nature of vice, wicked," from Anglo-French vicious, Old French vicieus, from Latin vitiosus "faulty, defective, corrupt," from vitium "fault" (see vice (n.1)). Meaning "inclined to be savage or dangerous" is first recorded 1711 (originally of animals, especially horses); that of "full of spite, bitter, severe" is from 1825. In law, "marred by some inherent fault" (late 14c.), hence also this sense in logic (c.1600); cf. vicious circle in reasoning (c.1792, Latin circulus vitiosus), which was given a general sense of "a situation in which action and reaction intensify one another" by 1839.