adj. vil·er, vil·est
1. Morally depraved; ignoble or wicked: a vile traitor; vile accusations.
a. Disgusting; repulsive: vile effluent running down the city streets.
b. Unpleasant or objectionable: vile weather. See Synonyms at offensive.
3. Miserably poor and degrading; wretched: a vile existence.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin vīlis, cheap, worthless; see wes-3 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.