1 of 2


: petty ill will or hatred with the disposition to irritate, annoy, or thwart
: an instance of spite


2 of 2


spited; spiting

transitive verb

: to fill with spite
: to treat maliciously (as by shaming or thwarting)
in spite of
: in defiance or contempt of : without being prevented by
succeeded in spite of their opposition
Choose the Right Synonym for spite

malice, malevolence, ill will, spite, malignity, spleen, grudge mean the desire to see another experience pain, injury, or distress.

malice implies a deep-seated often unexplainable desire to see another suffer.

felt no malice toward their former enemies

malevolence suggests a bitter persistent hatred that is likely to be expressed in malicious conduct.

a look of dark malevolence

ill will implies a feeling of antipathy of limited duration.

ill will provoked by a careless remark

spite implies petty feelings of envy and resentment that are often expressed in small harassments.

petty insults inspired by spite

malignity implies deep passion and relentlessness.

a life consumed by motiveless malignity

spleen suggests the wrathful release of latent spite or persistent malice.

venting his spleen against politicians

grudge implies a harbored feeling of resentment or ill will that seeks satisfaction.

never one to harbor a grudge

Examples of spite in a Sentence

Noun He is jealous and full of spite. spread cruel lies out of pure spite Verb He only did it to spite me. sometimes, I swear, she keeps doing that just to spite me
Recent Examples on the Web
She’s learned to love herself and her life in spite of its hardships by holding on to her own agency. Mankaprr Conteh, Rolling Stone, 21 Nov. 2023 But in spite of the co-op’s efforts, and the availability of antivenin across the country, many challenges persist. Kamala Thiagarajan, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Nov. 2023 In spite of all Rodrigo’s hype, USC ended up losing to UCLA 38-20. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 20 Nov. 2023 And this public perception has solidified in spite of the fact that a mounting body of evidence has now shown that ecigarettes are safer than smoking. WIRED, 19 Nov. 2023 The authentications have to be done in seconds, in spite of everything Almordaah and the other buyers have to check. Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2023 The vote came in spite of all 22 public speakers, who either left a voicemail or spoke in person, strongly advocating for Naranjo to get the chair position. Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Nov. 2023 In spite of its compact size, its two large drawers provide extra space for storage. Megan Ulu-Lani Boyanton, Better Homes & Gardens, 14 Nov. 2023 His stubbornly large advantage comes in spite of not attending the two previous debates and an ongoing heap of legal trouble. Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 8 Nov. 2023
Jamie Moraga, Franklin Revere NO: The city essentially cut off their nose to spite their face. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Nov. 2023 Doug always detested Reggie and only ended up the owner of the sweet pup to spite his ex-girlfriend, who loved the dog but learned to hate the two-timing Doug. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, 18 Aug. 2023 Forte plays Doug, who doesn’t want Reggie (voice of Will Ferrell), only keeping him to spite his ex. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 17 Aug. 2023 The most short-sighted aspect of the mini-rooms, however, is how blatantly the studios are cutting off their nose to spite their own faces. Zack Arnold, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 June 2023 There are legitimate concerns for sure, but giving up on a 26-year-old talent who is just entering his athletic prime smacks of an old Irish warning my mother used to tell us Sullivan siblings: Don’t bite off your nose to spite your face. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 1 June 2023 And nearly nobody would accept an outcome like killing a baby to spite the other party. The Foretold Team, Los Angeles Times, 30 May 2023 Season 3 also follows Catherine’s struggle to win the favor of the Russian people — who make something of a voodoo doll to spite her, as seen in the trailer — as Peter tries to keep himself busy while being plagued by visions of his late father (Jason Isaacs). Selome Hailu, Variety, 12 Apr. 2023 Since its return, David and Schaffer have reunited the ensemble cast, along with a roster of impressive guest stars, for three additional seasons of Larry shenanigans that have tackled everything from fatwas and spite stores to MAGA and local elections. Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spite.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English, short for despite

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of spite was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near spite

Cite this Entry

“Spite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spite. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: dislike or hatred for another person with a wish to torment, anger, or defeat


2 of 2 verb
spited; spiting
: annoy, offend
did it to spite me

More from Merriam-Webster on spite

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