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


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]

Dictionary results for "vicious"
Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.