[vahy-uh l, vahyl]


Also phial. a small container, as of glass, for holding liquids: a vial of rare perfume; a vial of medicine.

verb (used with object), vi·aled, vi·al·ing or (especially British) vi·alled, vi·al·ling.

to put into or keep in a vial.


    pour out vials of wrath, to wreak vengeance or express anger: In her preface she pours out vials of wrath on her detractors.

Origin of vial

1300–50; Middle English viole, variant of fiole phial
Can be confusedvial vile viol Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for vial

flask, bottle, ampoule, ampul, phial

Examples from the Web for vial

Contemporary Examples of vial

Historical Examples of vial

  • And he showed the vial, which he had brought down in his enthusiasm.

    Doctor Pascal

    Emile Zola

  • Almost everyone has tried to dissolve some substance in water in a vial.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • It was something formidable and swift, like the sudden smashing of a vial of wrath.


    Joseph Conrad

  • I ran back and reached the vial, tugged at its huge stopper.

    Beyond the Vanishing Point

    Raymond King Cummings

  • I barely tasted the pellet, and replaced it carefully in the vial.

    Beyond the Vanishing Point

    Raymond King Cummings

British Dictionary definitions for vial



a less common variant of phial

Word Origin for vial

C14: fiole, from Old French, from Old Provençal fiola, from Latin phiala, from Greek phialē; see phial
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for vial

c.1300, variant of fyole (see phial).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper