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invective

play
adjective in·vec·tive \ in-ˈvek-tiv \

Definition of invective

:of, relating to, or characterized by insult or abuse

invectively

adverb

invectiveness

noun

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Examples of invective in a Sentence

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

Origin and Etymology of invective

Middle English invectif, from Middle French, from Latin invectivus, from invectus, past participle of invehere


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invective

noun

Definition of invective

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

Examples of invective in a Sentence

  1. a barrage of racist invective

  2. hurled curses and invective at the driver who heedlessly cut them off in traffic

Recent Examples of invective from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'invective.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Invective originated in the 15th century as an adjective meaning "of, relating to, or characterized by insult or abuse." In the early 16th century, it appeared in print as a noun meaning "an example of abusive speech." Eventually, the noun developed a second sense applying to abusive language as a whole. Invective comes to us from the Middle French word invectif, which in turn derives from Latin invectivus, meaning "reproachful, abusive." (Invectivus comes from Latin invectus, past participle of the verb invehere, one form of which means "to assail with words.") Invective is similar to abuse, but it tends to suggest not only anger and vehemence but verbal and rhetorical skill. It sometimes implies public denunciation, as in "blistering political invective."

First Known Use of invective

1523

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

INVECTIVE Defined for English Language Learners

invective

noun

Definition of invective for English Language Learners

  • : harsh or insulting words : rude and angry language



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