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[vis-kuh s] /ˈvɪs kəs/
of a glutinous nature or consistency; sticky; thick; adhesive.
having the property of viscosity.
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 forms
viscously, adverb
viscousness, noun
hyperviscous, adjective
pseudoviscous, adjective
Can be confused
vicious, viscose, viscous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for viscous
  • Scientists believe the magma chambers-or reservoirs of molten rock-under dormant volcanoes are filled with sticky, viscous mush.
  • The resulting paste forms a wet, viscous brown dough.
  • viscous and virulent new creatures are emerging, vaguely familiar but changed in disturbing ways.
  • Going deeper requires drilling, but conventional drilling techniques don't work because of the oil's thick, viscous consistency.
  • And erythropoietin can pump blood cell levels so high the blood turns viscous and strains the heart.
  • One important unknown is the role that convection and conduction play in the less viscous regions of ice.
  • Theoretically this should flow more freely through rock than water, because it is less viscous than water.
  • Now its time for the end of our evil viscous species.
  • But it also makes the venom less viscous, allowing it to move even faster into the prey.
  • My experience has been that patients with chronic pain are also treated for depression as it creates an interwoven viscous cycle.
British Dictionary definitions for viscous


(of liquids) thick and sticky; viscid
having or involving viscosity
Derived Forms
viscously, adverb
viscousness, noun
Word Origin
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
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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viscous in Medicine

viscous vis·cous (vĭs'kəs)

  1. Having relatively high resistance to flow.

  2. Viscid.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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viscous in Science
Having relatively high resistance to flow (high viscosity).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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