Vial or Vile? What is the difference? 

Both of the words vial and vile sound the same but have very different meanings. “Vial” is a small container while “vile” is something that is evil. Vial and vile are great examples of words that are homonyms, or words that sound the same but mean something different. 

Continue reading on to learn more about homonyms, the definitions of both vial and vile, and examples of how to use each word within a sentence.

What Does Vile Mean?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word vile means extremely unpleasant, morally bad, or wicked. Another definition of vile is to mean ‘of little worth or value’. However, that definition is an archaic one and is not used in modern English.

Vile comes from the French word villis and was first documented in the late 13th century. In archaic times, vile was used to describe a lowborn person or someone who was considered cheap or ugly.

Using Vile in a Sentence

You can use vile in a sentence to describe something unpleasant or evil. Here are a few examples of how to use vile in a sentence.

  • The woman’s behavior was vile enough that security asked her to leave.
  • Having a pet turtle can be wonderful but do consider that they smell vile.
  • The offense was so vile that the punishment did not fit the crime.

Defining Vial

Another word that sounds, and almost looks the same as vile is vial. A vial is defined as being a small container. When describing a vial, one most commonly would describe it as being cylindrical and usually made of glass or transparent plastic.

We often hear the word vial being ascribed to medicines from the doctor or pharmacist. The word vial dates to the late 14th century. It is a variation of the Latin word phial. In Latin, the word phial is used to describe a flat bowl for drinking.

Examples of Using Vial in a Sentence

You can easily use the word vial in a sentence to describe any small container. Though it does not have to be associated with medicines, most of the time it will be. But a vial can contain many different objects and items. Here are some examples of how to use the word vial in a sentence.

  • The doctor filled the vial to the top with the appropriate medicine.
  • Once the vial has been emptied, return to the pharmacy for a refill.
  • She filled the vial up with sand that she collected at the beach.