Vicious is an adjective that means intentionally harmful or nasty. If you spread vicious rumors about a person, you're telling people things that will hurt her feelings or ruin her reputation. Cut it out!

If you're described as vicious, you're someone who does brutal things on purpose, out of ill-will towards others, like beating up defenseless puppies or poisoning the drinking water for a town. You're worse than just mean if you are vicious — in fact, you're evil! People (and puppies) will be wise to keep their distance. Other things, like gossip, animals, or cars from horror movies can be vicious, too.

Definitions of vicious
  1. adjective
    having the nature of vice
    synonyms: evil
    morally bad in principle or practice
  2. adjective
    (of persons or their actions) able or disposed to inflict pain or suffering
    vicious kicks”
    synonyms: barbarous, brutal, cruel, fell, roughshod, savage
    lacking and reflecting lack of pity or compassion
  3. adjective
    marked by deep ill will; deliberately harmful
    vicious gossip”
    synonyms: poisonous, venomous
    having the nature of or resulting from malice
  4. adjective
    bringing or deserving severe rebuke or censure
    synonyms: condemnable, criminal, deplorable, reprehensible
    contrary to conscience or morality or law
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