Vicious Definition & Vicious Circle & Vicariously Liable



Vicious Definition

Vicious means to be deliberately cruel or violent. Being vicious is more often than not a choice, rather than an innate part of a person’s personality. It stems from deep anger or resentment towards something, or someone.

Acting vicious can be physical or mental. You can hurt a person physically, or hurt their feelings.

Vicious in a Sentence


  • He received a punch from a vicious ex-boyfriend of hers. Now his eye is swollen.
  • I haven’t heard someone say something so vicious to her in years. She was crying afterwards.

Vicious Circle meaning

Both vicious circle and vicious cycle are correct, and the two expressions are synonyms. Vicious cycle and circle refers to something that is happening over and over again. Circle and cycle denote something continuous.

A vicious circle or cycle is most commonly connected to addictions, or continuous actions that bring about disaster. Since the negative effects of an action are being repeated over and over again it is referred to as a circle or cycle. A vicious circle or cycle rarely, if ever, has any positive connotations.

Wars, drug or gambling addiction, child abuse, economic collapse, arms races, extinction of animals, and many others are all vicious circles or cycles.

Vicious Circle Examples

  • He was abused a child by his father. Now he’s abusing his own son, and the vicious circle continues.
  • First, it was tanks and machine guns, now it’s nuclear weapons. The vicious cycle of the arms race will never truly end.
  • She’s a gambling addict. She wins a lot of money, then spends it all, and has to gamble again to pay off the debts. A vicious cycle I don’t know she’ll ever get out of.

Vicious Synonyms & Synonyms for Viciously

Vicious is associated with words that have to do with cruelty and deliberate aggressive action. There are multiple synonyms for vicious.

Viciously shares the same synonyms, only with the added -ly suffix. This is commonly used to make adverbs out of any adjectives.

Vicious Synonyms

  • brutal, savage, ferocious, merciless, inhuman, cold-blooded, violent, ruthless, harsh, cruel, awful, grim, sadistic, etc.

Synonyms for Viciously

  • brutally, savagely, ferociously, mercilessly, inhumanly, violently, ruthlessly, harshly, cruelly, awfully, grimly, sadistically, etc.

Vicious Antonyms & Viciously Antonyms

The opposite of vicious means being nice, warm, and friendly to people. Viciously has the same synonyms, only with the added -ly suffix.

Vicious Antonyms

  • gentle, kind, benevolent, warm, caring, nurturing, honorable, good, pure, moral, nice, tame, pleasant, right, etc.

Viciously Antonyms

  • gently, kindly, benevolently, warmly, honorably, purely, morally, nicely, tamely, pleasantly, etc.

Viciously Definition

Viciously is the adverb form of vicious. It is spelled the same way as vicious, but with the suffix -ly. It simply means to do something in a vicious manner, meaning cruel, calculated and intended to do harm.

Viciously Meaning

When something is done viciously it is most commonly associated with violence.


  • The dog viciously attacked him in the night. He has a gash across his forearm now.
  • She spoke so viciously with him, so you could hear the hatred in her voice.
  • The way he looked at him. It was done so viciously it burned through him.

Vicariously Liable meaning

Being vicariously liable means that you are directly responsible for the actions or omissions of another person. For instance, in a workplace the employer is responsible for the actions and omissions of the staff. This vicarious liability means that if the staff does something incorrectly the employer must also shoulder the blame.

Vicarious liability has been put into law due to the fact that people in higher positions could abuse their power, and not shoulder any blame in cases of disaster. Also, in terms of legal guardianship the parents should be directly responsible for the actions of their children.

Vicarious liability makes sure that the people in charge are also held accountable for their capabilities of monitoring, governing, or educating those they employ.

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