View synonyms for vicious


[ vish-uhs ]


  1. vicious gossip;

    a vicious attack.

    Synonyms: malevolent

  2. They all feared his vicious temper.

  3. (of an animal) having bad habits or a cruel or fierce disposition:

    a vicious bull.

  4. unpleasantly severe:

    a vicious headache.

  5. addicted to or characterized by vice; grossly immoral; depraved; profligate:

    a vicious life.

    Synonyms: sinful, iniquitous, corrupt, abandoned

    Antonyms: moral

  6. given or readily disposed to evil:

    a vicious criminal.

  7. a vicious deception.

  8. characterized or marred by faults or defects; faulty; unsound:

    vicious reasoning.

  9. Archaic. morbid, foul, or noxious.


/ ˈvɪʃəs /


  1. wicked or cruel; villainous

    a vicious thug

  2. characterized by violence or ferocity

    a vicious blow

  3. informal.
    unpleasantly severe; harsh

    a vicious wind

  4. characterized by malice

    vicious lies

  5. (esp of dogs, horses, etc) ferocious or hostile; dangerous
  6. characterized by or leading to vice
  7. invalidated by defects; unsound

    a vicious inference

  8. obsolete.
    noxious or morbid

    a vicious exhalation

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Derived Forms

  • ˈviciousness, noun
  • ˈviciously, adverb

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Other Words From

  • vicious·ly adverb
  • vicious·ness noun
  • un·vicious adjective
  • un·vicious·ly adverb
  • un·vicious·ness noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of vicious1

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English or directly from Anglo-French, from Latin vitiōsus, equivalent to viti(um) “fault, defect, vice” ( vice 1 ) + -ōsus -ous

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Word History and Origins

Origin of vicious1

C14: from Old French vicieus, from Latin vitiōsus full of faults, from vitium a defect

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Example Sentences

This can lead borrowers to take out another high-interest loan to pay off the last one, leading them into a vicious cycle that only profits the person who owns their debt.

From Quartz

They also viewed the vicious conversations in private groups as more deserving of protection than other types of content.

These patterns are all part of a vicious cycle that has been feeding on itself for decades.

Worse yet, perhaps, are the cases of vicious genetic self-promotion at the expense of others—not content with enhancing the numerator, but actively diminishing the denominator.

Our Jesse Marx reported Friday that the man who spread vicious robocalls about it now says he was working for the family of another GOP candidate.

“Vicious pecking, avian hysteria, mysterious deaths, and even cannibalism” are the results, he writes.

The late-November hacking of Sony, perhaps the most vicious episode of its kind, comes at the end of the period of mourning.

But most of all, Ramone lingered on Vicious, whom he painted and drew over and over again.

Sid Vicious is stomping all over Steve Jones, about to smash in his guitar (again).

In one painting, framed as a split-panel comic between the two, Ramone simply asks Vicious, “Did you kill her?”

There was a vicious aching in his nerves, his muscles were flaccid and unstrung; a numbness was in his brain as well.

There was a sudden forward movement on the part of the men; but if Garnache was vicious, he was calm.

And I answer that when a man does wrong he does it because he knows no better, or because he is naturally vicious.

With a vicious snarl, the dog lifted his great body into the air and plunged toward the Comet.

He began to be afraid lest he might be overwhelmed in this slough of a petty, useless, and vicious existence.





vicinityvicious circle