Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having the nature of vice; evil, immoral, or depraved.
  • adj. Given to vice, immorality, or depravity.
  • adj. Spiteful; malicious: vicious gossip.
  • adj. Disposed to or characterized by violent or destructive behavior. See Synonyms at cruel.
  • adj. Marked by an aggressive disposition; savage. Used chiefly of animals.
  • adj. Severe or intense; fierce: a vicious storm.
  • adj. Faulty, imperfect, or otherwise impaired by defects or a defect: a forced, vicious style of prose.
  • adj. Impure; foul.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Pertaining to vice; characterised by immorality or depravity.
  • adj. Evil, immoral or depraved.
  • adj. Violent, destructive and cruel.
  • adj. Savage and aggressive.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Characterized by vice or defects; defective; faulty; imperfect.
  • adj. Addicted to vice; corrupt in principles or conduct; depraved; wicked.
  • adj. Wanting purity; foul; bad; noxious.
  • adj. Not correct or pure; corrupt.
  • adj. Not well tamed or broken; given to bad tricks; unruly; refractory.
  • adj. Bitter; spiteful; malignant.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Characterized by vice or imperfection; faulty; defective.
  • Addicted to vice; habitually transgressing moral law; depraved; profligate; wicked.
  • Contrary to moral principles or to rectitude; perverse; pernicious; evil; bad.
  • Impure; foul; vitiated: as, vicious humors.
  • Faulty; incorrect; not pure; corrupt: as, a vicious style.
  • Not well broken or trained; given to objectionable tricks: said of an animal.
  • Characterized by severity; virulent; malignant; spiteful: as, a vicious attack.
  • Synonyms and Wicked, Depraved, etc. (see criminal), unprincipled, licentious, profligate.
  • Refractory, ugly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. (of persons or their actions) able or disposed to inflict pain or suffering
  • adj. marked by deep ill will; deliberately harmful
  • adj. having the nature of vice
  • adj. bringing or deserving severe rebuke or censure

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French vicieus, from Latin vitiōsus, from vitium, vice.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman vicious, Old French vicious (modern French vicieux), from Latin vitiōsus, from vitium ("fault, vice"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I borrowed the term vicious cycle as it did in cycle for the past 71 years or once less than every 4 years.

    Why Thailand Will Not Stage the Next Military Coup

  • When I use the term vicious, it is for the sake of talking your language; for, if we came to explanations, it might happen that you called vice what I call virtue, and virtue what I call vice.

    Diderot and the Encyclopædists Volume II.

  • The Palestinian Authority urged the international community to intervene and implement the two-state solution, saying that is the only way to end what it called the "vicious cycle of violence."

    Israel Approves More Settler Homes in West Bank

  • To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the "rhetoric" of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the "rhetoric" and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible.

    The Arizona Tragedy and the Politics of Blood Libel

  • To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the 'rhetoric' of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the 'rhetoric' and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible.

    Morning Bits

  • After Trump spoke, the 21-year-old Prejean, who was accompanied by her parents, took her turn at the lectern, defending herself against what she described as vicious attacks.

    Miss California KEEPS The Crown: Trump Compliments Her Beauty (VIDEO)

  • JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Condemning what she calls vicious attacks, Hillary Clinton says those who carry them out are cowards.

    CNN Transcript Oct 28, 2009

  • The 21-year-old beauty queen also spoke, defending herself against what she called vicious attacks.

    CNN Transcript May 12, 2009

  • Condemning what she calls vicious attacks, Hillary Clinton says those who carry them out are cowards.

    CNN Transcript Oct 28, 2009

  • : The Chinese government lodged a formal complaint against U.S. television network CNN for what it called a vicious attack by commentator Jack Cafferty, who called Chinese leaders "goons" and described some of the country's products as "junk."

    Parsing a U.S. Economy

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