vicious


vicious
vicious, villainous, iniquitous, nefarious, flagitious, infamous, corrupt, degenerate are comparable when they mean highly reprehensible or offensive in character, nature, or conduct. Vicious may imply an addiction to or connection with vice or immorality; usually it suggests moral depravity and is the diametrical opposite of virtuous
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form vicious habits

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we cannot afford to have poor people anyhow, whether they be lazy or busy, drunken or sober, virtuous or viciousShaw

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Often the word implies a particular highly reprehensible quality (as ugliness or violence of temper or deliberate cruelty)
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the horseman delivered one last vicious cut with his whip— Kipling

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he looked at the piece of meat and crust, and suddenly, in a vicious spurt of temper, flung it into the fire— D. H. Lawrence

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or it may imply a debasing
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the multiplication of critical books and essays may create ... a vicious taste for reading about works of art instead of reading the works themselves— T. S. Eliot

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or complete vitiation by faults, defects, or irremediable conditions
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a vicious system of financing

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discriminate between thoroughly vicious ideas and those which should have a chance to be heard— Chafee
Villainous is a more condemnatory term than vicious; it may suggest specifically qualities which can be associated with a villain, a rascal, or a scoundrel or it may be little more than an intensifying equivalent of vicious
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a villainous assault

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a villainous practice

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a villainous temper

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dreams bizarre and frantic, villainous beyond men's wildest imaginings— Styron

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Iniquitous is more fixed in its meaning than the preceding terms; it commonly implies the absence of all signs of justice or fairness or a complete indifference to the standards or principles which govern the conduct of civilized or law-abiding men
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iniquitous disregard of the rights of small nations

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that quenchless hunger for raw, quick, dirty money in American politics, which hardly sugarcoats its bribes, which glazes over its most iniquitous corruption— White

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Nefarious is often used in place of iniquitous when one wishes an even more censorious form of expression. The word implies impiety in its deepest sense or a breach of laws and traditions which have immemorially been honored, but it commonly means extremely or flagrantly wicked
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the nefarious neglect of their aged parents

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race prejudice is most nefarious on its politer levels— Clurman

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Flagitious and infamous both imply shameful and scandalous badness or wickedness, but the former is somewhat less rhetorical and more closely descriptive than the latter
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in the beginning, the common law applied only to acts that all men, everywhere, admitted were flagitiousG. W. Johnson

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forced and flagitious bombast— T. S. Eliot

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else, perhaps, I might have been entangled among deeds, which, now, as infamous, I should abhor— Wordsworth

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Alice . . . would have scouted as infamous any suggestion that her parent was more selfish than saintly— Shaw

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Corrupt (see also DEBASE 1) may be applied to persons in an official capacity or to their acts, then implying a loss or lack of moral integrity or probity that makes one accessible to bribes or other inducements to go contrary to sworn duties or obligations
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control of municipal government in . . . many . . . American cities had fallen into the clutches of corrupt political machines— Armbrister

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bent only on turning each to his own personal advantage the now corrupt machinery of administration and law— Dickinson

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or the term may be more generally applied, and then suggests degradation or depravity
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those moral wildernesses of civilized life which the Square automatically condemns as delinquent or evil or immature or morbid or self-destructive or corruptMailer

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humanity they knew to be corrupt and incompetent— Henry Adams

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Degenerate stresses a descent and deterioration from a presumed original or earlier high type or condition to one that is very low in the scale morally, intellectually, physically, or artistically. However it additionally carries so strong an implication of corruption, and so often suggests extreme viciousness that it is generally used to describe what is especially reprehensible and offensive from the historical point of view or in comparison to other members of its class or other instances of the type
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preferred to prop up an effete and degenerate dynasty rather than face a vigorous reformed China—G. F. Hudson

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what he has to say is inspired by revolt against the degenerate practice of his times— Binyon

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we are solemnly warned that in the hands of modern writers language has fallen into a morbid state. It has become degenerateEllis

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Analogous words: debased, depraved, debauched, perverted (see under DEBASE): dissolute, profligate, *abandoned, reprobate: lewd, lascivious, wanton, lecherous, libidinous (see LICENTIOUS)
Antonyms: virtuous

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Vicious — Vi cious, a. [OF. vicious, F. vicieux, fr. L. vitiosus, fr. vitium vice. See {Vice} a fault.] 1. Characterized by vice or defects; defective; faulty; imperfect. [1913 Webster] Though I perchance am vicious in my guess. Shak. [1913 Webster] The… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • vicious — [vish′əs] adj. [ME < OFr vicieus < L vitiosus, full of faults, corrupt, vicious < vitium,VICE1] 1. a) given to or characterized by vice; evil, corrupt, or depraved b) tending to deprave or corrupt; pernicious [vicious interests] c)… …   English World dictionary

  • vicious — (adj.) early 14c. (implied in viciously), of the nature of vice, wicked, from Anglo Fr. vicious, O.Fr. vicieus, from L. vitiosus faulty, defective, corrupt, from vitium fault (see VICE (Cf. vice) (n.1)). Meaning inclined to be savage or dangerous …   Etymology dictionary

  • vicious — I adjective abandoned, acrimonious, atrocious, barbarous, beastly, blameworthy, brutal, censurable, contrary, corrupt, criminal, cruel, dangerous, debased, degenerate, demoralized, depraved, devilish, diabolical, disgraceful, evil, evil minded,… …   Law dictionary

  • vicious — [adj1] corrupt, wrong abandoned, abhorrent, atrocious, bad, barbarous, base, contaminated, cruel, dangerous, debased, degenerate, degraded, demoralized, depraved, diabolical, faulty, ferocious, fiendish, flagitious, foul, heinous, immoral,… …   New thesaurus

  • vicious — ► ADJECTIVE 1) cruel or violent. 2) (of an animal) wild and dangerous. 3) literary immoral. DERIVATIVES viciously adverb viciousness noun. ORIGIN Latin vitiosus, from vitium vice …   English terms dictionary

  • Vicious — Sid Vicious (eigentlich John Simon Ritchie; * 10. Mai 1957 in London, England; † 2. Februar 1979 in New York, USA) war ein britischer Punkrock Musiker und der Bassist der Band Sex Pistols. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 1.1 Musikalisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • vicious — 01. Be careful of their dog; it can be quite [vicious] towards strangers. 02. A young child was [viciously] attacked by a dog while playing in the park yesterday. 03. He was injured by a [vicious] kick from an opposing player. 04. The young man… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • vicious — viciously, adv. viciousness, n. /vish euhs/, adj. 1. addicted to or characterized by vice; grossly immoral; depraved; profligate: a vicious life. 2. given or readily disposed to evil: a vicious criminal. 3. reprehensible; blameworthy; wrong: a… …   Universalium

  • vicious — adjective 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 …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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