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See more synonyms for vicious on Thesaurus.com
  1. addicted to or characterized by vice; grossly immoral; depraved; profligate: a vicious life.
  2. given or readily disposed to evil: a vicious criminal.
  3. reprehensible; blameworthy; wrong: a vicious deception.
  4. spiteful; malicious: vicious gossip; a vicious attack.
  5. unpleasantly severe: a vicious headache.
  6. characterized or marred by faults or defects; faulty; unsound: vicious reasoning.
  7. savage; ferocious: They all feared his vicious temper.
  8. (of an animal) having bad habits or a cruel or fierce disposition: a vicious bull.
  9. Archaic. morbid, foul, or noxious.
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Origin of vicious

1300–50; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin vitiōsus, equivalent to viti(um) fault, vice1 + -ōsus -ous
Related formsvi·cious·ly, adverbvi·cious·ness, nounun·vi·cious, adjectiveun·vi·cious·ly, adverbun·vi·cious·ness, noun
Can be confusedvicious viscose viscous

Synonyms for vicious

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Antonyms for vicious

1. moral.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for viciously

wickedly, savagely, brutally, ferociously, maliciously, immorally, wrongly

Examples from the Web for viciously

Contemporary Examples of viciously

Historical Examples of viciously

  • I wouldn't,' said Miggs viciously, 'no, not for five-and-forty pound!'

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • He caught me viciously by the arm and looked sharply into my face.

  • I caught her viciously by the wrist, and with my face close up to hers "Folle!"

  • "That blow has killed Florimond de Condillac," he told her viciously.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

  • “If not, he should learn,” said the chamois hunter, viciously.

    The Princess Virginia

    C. N. Williamson

British Dictionary definitions for viciously


  1. wicked or cruel; villainousa vicious thug
  2. characterized by violence or ferocitya vicious blow
  3. informal unpleasantly severe; harsha vicious wind
  4. characterized by malicevicious lies
  5. (esp of dogs, horses, etc) ferocious or hostile; dangerous
  6. characterized by or leading to vice
  7. invalidated by defects; unsounda vicious inference
  8. obsolete noxious or morbida vicious exhalation
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Derived Formsviciously, adverbviciousness, noun

Word Origin for vicious

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



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper