or V.I.P.

[ vee-ahy-pee ]
/ ˈviˈaɪˈpi /
Save This Word!

very important person.
There's an ocean of difference between the way people speak English in the US vs. the UK. Are your language skills up to the task of telling the difference? Let's find out!
Question 1 of 7
True or false? British English and American English are only different when it comes to slang words.

Origin of VIP

First recorded in 1940–45
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does VIP mean?

VIP (or V.I.P.) is an abbreviation of very important person.

VIP is an informal way to refer to someone who is notable in some way and is given special treatment in a particular setting. It is also used to describe things involving special access for such people, as in phrases like VIP treatment or VIP pass. The plural of VIP is VIPs.

Example: The hotel provides additional security for the rooms reserved by VIPs like heads of state.

Where does VIP come from?

The first records of VIP come from the middle of the 1900s. Initially, it was most often applied to important, high-ranking military personnel. Over time, the term became a widely used abbreviation.

VIP most often refers to people like celebrities or wealthy customers who are given special privileges or treatment. Many businesses often label their most loyal (and highest-paying) customers as VIPs in order to offer them special perks. For example, a boutique might have an exclusive event for VIPs like celebrities and influencers who they hope will create interest in the business. People given such access and perks are often said to have received VIP treatment.

VIP is commonly used in phrases that refer to things that allow or involve special access. For example, some seats at concerts and sporting events are reserved for people with VIP passes. Amusement parks frequently offer (very expensive) VIP packages that have all kinds of extra benefits. If someone has VIP status within an organization, it means they are high in the chain of command or they have been granted access to things and sections that are off-limits to lower-ranking people. Often, such VIPs are given special badges to prove their status.

Since VIP is an abbreviation, it can stand for other things, such as visually impaired person.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to VIP?

  • V.I.P. (alternate spelling)
  • VIPs (plural)
  • V.I.P.s (plural)

What are some synonyms for VIP?

  • very important person

What are some words that often get used in discussing VIP?

How is VIP used in real life?

VIPs are usually celebrities or people who have paid for special access and privileges.



Try using VIP!

Is VIP used correctly in the following sentence?

After the pop star announced that she was coming to the restaurant, the manager told his staff to treat her as a VIP and give her the best table.

How to use VIP in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for VIP


abbreviation for
very important person
visually impaired person
vasoactive intestinal peptide: a polypeptide secreted by the small intestine during digestion and also found in the brain as a neurotransmitter: large amounts in the blood cause diarrhoea
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

Cultural definitions for VIP

[ (vee-eye-pee) ]

An abbreviation for “Very Important Person”: “The luncheon will be exclusive, with VIPs only.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.