Definition of vicious adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈvɪʃəs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈvɪʃəs//
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  1. 1violent and cruel synonym brutal a vicious attack a vicious criminal She has a vicious temper.
  2. 2(of animals) aggressive and dangerous a vicious dog
  3. 3(of an attack, criticism, etc.) full of hatred and anger She wrote me a vicious letter. The newspapers launched a vicious attack on him, forcing him to resign.
  4. 4(informal) very bad or severe a vicious headache a vicious spiral of rising prices
  5. Word OriginMiddle English (in the sense ‘characterized by immorality’): from Old French vicious or Latin vitiosus, from vitium ‘vice’.Extra examples a particularly vicious and brutal crime He was set upon by vicious thugs. I’ve done nothing to deserve all your vicious insinuations. She wrote me a vicious letter after the incident. The committee was particularly vicious in its criticism of the management. The play is a vicious attack on the nouveau riche. They conducted a vicious campaign of misinformation and propaganda. This was a particularly vicious assault.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: vicious

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