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First attested in 1605. Borrowed from Middle French visqueux and Late Latin viscōsus, from Latin viscum (birdlime). Doublet of viscose.



viscous (comparative more viscous, superlative most viscous)

  1. Having a thick, sticky consistency between solid and liquid.
    Synonyms: syrupy, viscid, viscose, thickflowing
    Antonym: inviscid
    • 2014 December 23, Olivia Judson, “The hemiparasite season [print version: Under the hemiparasite, International New York Times, 24–25 December 2014, page 7]”, in The New York Times[1], archived from the original on 23 December 2014:
      [] The flesh [of the mistletoe berry] is sticky, and forms strings and ribbons between my thumb and forefinger. For the mistletoe, this viscous goop – and by the way, viscous comes to English from viscum – is crucial. The stickiness means that, after eating the berries, birds often regurgitate the seeds and then wipe their bills on twigs – leading to the seeds' getting glued to the tree, where they can germinate and begin the cycle anew.
  2. (physics) Of or pertaining to viscosity.

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Old French[edit]


Borrowed from Late Latin viscōsus, from Latin viscum.


viscous m (oblique and nominative feminine singular viscouse)

  1. viscous (of a liquid, thick; tending to flow slowly)


  • Middle French: visqueux
    • French: visqueux
    • English: viscous