We're working on a new site. Click here to get a sneak preview.


adjective in·vec·tive \in-ˈvek-tiv\

Definition of INVECTIVE

:  of, relating to, or characterized by insult or abuse
in·vec·tive·ly adverb
in·vec·tive·ness noun

Examples of INVECTIVE

  1. <an overbearing, bullying boss who is fond of sending invective e-mails to long-suffering assistants>


Middle English invectif, from Middle French, from Latin invectivus, from invectus, past participle of invehere
First Known Use: 15th century



: harsh or insulting words : rude and angry language

Full Definition of INVECTIVE

:  an abusive expression or speech
:  insulting or abusive language :  vituperation

Examples of INVECTIVE

  1. a barrage of racist invective
  2. <hurled curses and invective at the driver who heedlessly cut them off in traffic>

First Known Use of INVECTIVE


Synonym Discussion of INVECTIVE

abuse, vituperation, invective, obloquy, billingsgate mean vehemently expressed condemnation or disapproval. abuse, the most general term, usually implies the anger of the speaker and stresses the harshness of the language <scathing verbal abuse>. vituperation implies fluent and sustained abuse <a torrent of vituperation>. invective implies a comparable vehemence but suggests greater verbal and rhetorical skill and may apply to a public denunciation <blistering political invective>. obloquy suggests defamation and consequent shame and disgrace <subjected to obloquy and derision>. billingsgate implies practiced fluency and variety of profane or obscene abuse <directed a stream of billingsgate at the cabdriver>.


Next Word in the Dictionary: inveighPrevious Word in the Dictionary: invectionAll Words Near: invective
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears