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[vish-uh s] /ˈvɪʃ əs/
addicted to or characterized by vice; grossly immoral; depraved; profligate:
a vicious life.
given or readily disposed to evil:
a vicious criminal.
reprehensible; blameworthy; wrong:
a vicious deception.
spiteful; malicious:
vicious gossip; a vicious attack.
unpleasantly severe:
a vicious headache.
characterized or marred by faults or defects; faulty; unsound:
vicious reasoning.
savage; ferocious:
They all feared his vicious temper.
(of an animal) having bad habits or a cruel or fierce disposition:
a vicious bull.
Archaic. morbid, foul, or noxious.
Origin of vicious
1300-50; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin vitiōsus, equivalent to viti(um) fault, vice1 + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
viciously, adverb
viciousness, noun
unvicious, adjective
unviciously, adverb
unviciousness, noun
Can be confused
vicious, viscose, viscous.
1. abandoned, corrupt, iniquitous, sinful. 4. malevolent.
1. moral. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for viciously
  • It viciously attacks the policies and the character of a president who belongs to the opposing political party.
  • My whole body was sore, as if a gang of boxers had punched me viciously.
  • To see you even after you were viciously attacked with a smile on your face astounded me.
  • They even criticized their publisher viciously in public.
  • They know full well how viciously everyone denounces them every day in private.
  • We demand panache from our politicians, but punish them viciously whenever they say something close to true.
  • Our other problem is, two and some times three of the males will fight viciously for no apparent reason.
  • It can swing viciously and it has a dry sense of humor.
  • They fly viciously through the air attacking the base of the skull of anyone within range.
  • Even when its characters are sniping viciously at one another, their underlying camaraderie is palpable.
British Dictionary definitions for viciously


wicked or cruel; villainous: a vicious thug
characterized by violence or ferocity: a vicious blow
(informal) unpleasantly severe; harsh: a vicious wind
characterized by malice: vicious lies
(esp of dogs, horses, etc) ferocious or hostile; dangerous
characterized by or leading to vice
invalidated by defects; unsound: a vicious inference
(obsolete) noxious or morbid: a vicious exhalation
Derived Forms
viciously, adverb
viciousness, noun
Word Origin
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
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for viciously

vic 1


A convict (1925+ Underworld)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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