• synonyms


[vis-kuh s]
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  1. of a glutinous nature or consistency; sticky; thick; adhesive.
  2. having the property of viscosity.
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Also viscose.

Origin of viscous

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin viscōsus, equivalent to Latin visc(um) mistletoe, birdlime (made with mistletoe berries) + -ōsus -ous
Related formsvis·cous·ly, adverbvis·cous·ness, nounhy·per·vis·cous, adjectivepseu·do·vis·cous, adjective
Can be confusedvicious viscose viscous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for viscous

slimy, gooey, syrupy, adhesive, clammy, gelatinous, stiff, tenacious, thick, tough, glutinous, mucilaginous, viscid, gluey, ropy

Examples from the Web for viscous

Contemporary Examples of viscous

Historical Examples of viscous

British Dictionary definitions for viscous



  1. (of liquids) thick and sticky; viscid
  2. having or involving viscosity
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Derived Formsviscously, adverbviscousness, noun

Word Origin for viscous

C14: from Late Latin viscōsus; see viscose
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 viscous


late 14c., from Anglo-French viscous, from Late Latin viscosus "sticky," from Latin viscum "anything sticky, birdlime made from mistletoe, mistletoe," probably from PIE root *weis- "to melt away, flow" (used of foul or malodorous fluids); see virus.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

viscous in Medicine


  1. Having relatively high resistance to flow.
  2. Viscid.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

viscous in Science


  1. Having relatively high resistance to flow (high viscosity).
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.