Rogue Words from A to Z: The Vicious Viscous Villain

A to Z Letter VToday’s rogue words story will vanquish two very villainous words: vilify and vicious.


The word vilify is derived from the word vile. It means to talk about something in “an abusively disparaging manner.” It’s often misspelled as villify, because it reminds people of the word villain.

Ancient olive treeVanessa was venturing through a vast forest when she encountered the vinetree.

She approached it cautiously, holding her sword out in front of her. She had heard her elders vilifying vinetrees, but when she studied it, she wasn’t sure why. The knot of twisted vines gleamed in the sunlight. It spiraled up in an intricate pattern, bursting out at the top and cascading towards the grass. Silver berries hung from all the vines, creating a jeweled canopy.

How could a tree this beautiful be a villain?


The word vicious (meaning malevolent, savage, or fierce) is sometimes confused with viscous, which describes a sticky liquid that does not flow freely.

Suddenly one of the vines came whipping towards her, wrapping snugly around her waist. Another vine darted down and snagged her by the shoulder. Her sword arm was still free, so she hacked viciously at the vines as she backed away.

Other vines viciously flung silver berries at her face. She could smell the sweet scent of the berries as they burst open on her cheeks.

More vines wrapped around her, but some of them were weakening from her blows. As she sliced through the vines, their viscous sap seeped out and splattered on her. She could feel herself getting stickier and stickier. Some of the sap landed in her mouth. It tasted exactly like maple syrup.

“Vanessa!” shouted a voice. It was her mother.

The fight was becoming desperate. Would she be victorious?

“Vanessa!” came her mother’s voice again. “Stop playing with that spatula, it’s time for dinner.”

Vanessa dropped her sword arm and ran back down the hall towards the kitchen. Blueberry pancakes were her favourite, and she didn’t want them to get cold.


Image of ancient olive tree by Dennis Koutou from Wikimedia Commons

This post is dedicated to my son, who has been invaluable in helping me come up with story ideas. Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for Monday’s post, where I will whisk away the wishy-washy letter W…

31 thoughts on “Rogue Words from A to Z: The Vicious Viscous Villain

  1. I like using words that start with “v” in poetry. It is poetry month in Canada! Your story filled of poetic description of the villain tree is inspiring….and I learned to write villain correctly. In French it is “vilain” and same meaning. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know viscous because it is the perfect word to describe Vegemite, haha. As an adjective, it sounds about as unpleasant as Vegemite tastes. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Viscous does have a slimy sort of sound to it. I have never eaten Vegemite, so I wasn’t sure if its terrible taste was an urban legend or reality. But I know I can trust you, so I’d better avoid it in future! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to spell vilify the wrong way. Vicious vs. viscous is apparently a common error, although I’m sure it’s not that common since those words don’t get used a lot!


  3. Visiting you in these closing days of the #Challenge. Always happy to find another writer. If you have time or energy at this point in April, come and see what I’ve been up to. Love finding good blogs like yours. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Stepheny! Glad you found the time to stop by and comment. Yes, the energy level at this point is getting a bit low, but I will be sure to swing by for a visit when I get a chance. I’m happy you liked my blog. 🙂


  4. Firstly, I loved the tiny tale. You have such a talent for drawing a reader in within such a short space of time, Sue.
    Secondly, I will no longer trip up on the mistake of the double “L” as I have been wont to do.
    Lastly, I am happily very familiar with viscous liquids, as a whisky’s viscosity is a reliable measurement of mouthfeel. Yum.
    Clever son. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I can see why the viscosity of whiskey is much more attractive than say, peanut butter. 😉 I’m glad you enjoyed the tiny tale. And he is a clever and creative son, I am proud to call him my own!


  5. Great V words, and your story was fun too! “Vicious” is a weird one for me. Like you say, I usually spell it like “viscous” but I throw in an “i” for good measure (viscious…) 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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