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Published on: Spanish Slang

“Vicious” is not “Vicioso”

Beware of false friends: “vicious” is not the same as “vicioso”.

Although they sound similar, their meanings are not related. While “vicioso” refers to someone who has a vice, such as drugs or alcohol, “vicious” is an adjective that can have different meanings depending on the context:

1. When we mean “depraved”, we use the equivalents “depravado”, “malo”, “cruel”, “malvado”.

2. When we mean “savage”, we use the equivalents “malo”, “fiero”, “salvaje”, “feroz”, “despiadado”.

3. When we mean “malicious”, we use the equivalent “malicioso”.


  • A vicious dog. Un perro feroz.
  • “She’s a vicious, horrible person.” – Donald Trump. “Ella es una persona malvada.” – Donald Trump.
  • Her boss unleashed a vicious criticism on her job performance. Su jefe desató un ataque despiadado sobre su desempeño laboral.
  • When you hear vicious gossip at work it needs to be addressed. Cuando escuches chismes maliciosos en el trabajo, es hora de confrontarlos.
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