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Main Entry: vi·cious
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French vicios, from Latin vitiosus full of faults, corrupt, from vitium vice
Date: 14th century
1: having the nature or quality of vice or immorality : depraved
2: defective, faulty; also : invalid
3: impure, noxious
4 a: dangerously aggressive : savage <a vicious dog> b: marked by violence or ferocity : fierce <a vicious fight>
5: malicious, spiteful <vicious gossip>
6: worsened by internal causes that reciprocally augment each other <a vicious wage-price spiral>
— vi·cious·ly adverb
— vi·cious·ness noun
synonyms vicious, villainous, iniquitous, nefarious, corrupt, degenerate mean highly reprehensible or offensive in character, nature, or conduct. vicious may directly oppose virtuous in implying moral depravity, or may connote malignancy, cruelty, or destructive violence <a vicious gangster>. villainous applies to any evil, depraved, or vile conduct or characteristic <a villainous assault>. iniquitous implies absence of all signs of justice or fairness <an iniquitous system of taxation>. nefarious suggests flagrant breaching of time-honored laws and traditions of conduct <the nefarious rackets of organized crime>. corrupt stresses a loss of moral integrity or probity causing betrayal of principle or sworn obligations <city hall was rife with corrupt politicians>. degenerate suggests having sunk to an especially vicious or enervated condition <a degenerate regime propped up by foreign powers