Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: vicieux, from Latin vitiosus 'full of faults', from vitium; VICE

vicious

adjective
     
vi‧cious
1 violent and cruel in a way that hurts someone physically:
a vicious murder
a vicious killer
Keep away from that dog, he can be vicious.
2 very unkind in a way that is intended to hurt someone's feelings or make their character seem bad [= malicious]:
Sarah can be quite vicious at times.
a vicious personal attack on the Duchess
She was shocked by the vicious tone in his voice.
3 unpleasantly strong or severe [= violent]:
a vicious gust of wind
a vicious headache
viciously adverb:
He twisted her arm viciously.
viciousness noun [uncountable]

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