From Middle English wicked, wikked, an alteration of Middle English wicke, wikke (“morally perverse, evil, wicked”). Of uncertain origin. Possibly from an adjectival use of Old English wiċċa (“wizard, sorcerer”), from Proto-West Germanic *wikkō, from Proto-Germanic *wikkô (“necromancer, sorcerer”), though the phonology makes this theory difficult to explain. Alternatively, perhaps related to English wicker, Old Norse víkja (“to bend to, yield, turn, move”), Swedish vika (“to bend, fold, give way to”), English weak.
wicked (comparative wickeder or more wicked, superlative wickedest or most wicked)
- Evil or mischievous by nature.
- Synonyms: evil, immoral, malevolent, malicious, nefarious, twisted, villainous; see also Thesaurus:evil
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], →OCLC, Proverbs 28:1:
- The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bolde as a lyon.
- 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 6, in The China Governess:
- ‘[…] I remember a lady coming to inspect St. Mary's Home where I was brought up and seeing us all in our lovely Elizabethan uniforms we were so proud of, and bursting into tears all over us because “it was wicked to dress us like charity children”. […]’.
- 1989, Chris Isaak (lyrics and music), “Wicked Game”, in Heart Shaped World:
- What a wicked game to play, to make me feel this way / What a wicked thing to do, to let me dream of you / What a wicked thing to say, you never felt this way
- Genuine cowards follow wicked people and cannot reliably sustain any virtue.
- (slang) Excellent; awesome; masterful.
- Harsh; severe.
- wicked wind
Use of "wicked" as an adjective (in the sense of "extreme, awesome") rather than an intensifying adverb ("extremely, very") is sometimes considered an error when it is used to suggest a Boston or Northeast dialect. In fact, this is not necessarily true in the case of Bostonians born in the 1960s and 70s (and perhaps later) or in other New England dialects. "That's a wicked car" is perhaps used mostly by older Bostonians, but "that car's wicked" and especially "(that's) wicked!" (in the sense of "fantastic, awesome, great") are common in Boston.
What is or was special to Boston and the Northeast is usage as an adverb and an adjective, not usage only as an adverb. However, the Merriam-Webster and American Heritage dictionaries no longer label the adverbial usage a regionalism.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
wicked (not comparable)
- (slang, New England, Britain) Very, extremely.
- simple past tense and past participle of wick
wicked (not comparable)
- Having a wick.
- a two-wicked lamp
- 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard:
- Up went Moggy, with her thick-wicked kitchen candle, to seek repose; […]
- (UK, dialect, obsolete) Active; brisk.
- (Britain, dialect, chiefly Yorkshire) Infested with maggots.
- Alternative form of wick, as applying to inanimate objects only.
- wicked at OneLook Dictionary Search
- Alternative form of wikked
From Middle English wikked.
- 1867, “CASTEALE CUDDE'S LAMENTATION”, in SONGS, ETC. IN THE DIALECT OF FORTH AND BARGY, number 4:
- Zimaan Haay is a wicked man,
- Simon Hay is a wicked man,
- Jacob Poole (1867), William Barnes, editor, A Glossary, With some Pieces of Verse, of the old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, London: J. Russell Smith, page 104
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