van·​dal | \ ˈvan-dᵊl How to pronounce vandal (audio) \

Definition of vandal

1 capitalized : a member of a Germanic people who lived in the area south of the Baltic Sea between the Vistula and the Oder rivers, overran Gaul, Spain, and northern Africa in the fourth and fifth centuries a.d., and in 455 sacked Rome
2 : one who willfully or ignorantly destroys, damages, or defaces property belonging to another or to the public

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Other Words from vandal

vandal adjective, often capitalized
Vandalic \ van-​ˈda-​lik How to pronounce vandal (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for vandal


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Examples of vandal in a Sentence

Vandals defaced the school's walls. a group of vandals broke into the school and painted graffiti on the walls
Recent Examples on the Web Servantes awoke to find the vandal gone, leaving only frustrated pry marks behind. Mike Sutter,, "Among San Antonio’s best barbecue restaurants are 3 new places that opened in the last year," 7 Jan. 2021 And at nearby Salem State University, an anonymous vandal wrote a message telling a black person to die, using the n-word., "Lost on campus, as colleges look abroad," 13 Dec. 2017 After surveying the damage, Carson thinks the vandal — or vandals — struck the work twice: once on the back of the sculpted head and once across the shoulder. Los Angeles Times, "Vandals smash Breonna Taylor sculpture in Oakland," 28 Dec. 2020 An alleged vandal was arrested for damaging campaign signs belonging to Sam Harless. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, "The 17 wildest things that happened during early voting," 27 Dec. 2020 Officials think the vandal or vandals attached the other end of the rope to a vehicle's tow hitch, hoping to generate enough force to send it crashing down. Katherine Rosenberg-douglas,, "President McKinley statue vandalized as someone tries to topple it," 25 Nov. 2020 Trump is ultimately a vandal; our government, a blank canvas. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Trump Has Never Been More Dangerous Than He Is Now," 7 Nov. 2020 University officials immediately condemned the vandal’s change to the message on the Spirit Rock when it was discovered on Sunday and launched an investigation into what happened. Zach Murdock,, "No charges to be filed against vandal who defaced ‘Black Lives Matter’ message on UConn’s Spirit Rock," 25 Sep. 2020 Despite finding the vandal, the state’s attorney’s office and university leaders determined the act technically did not constitute a crime, Tuitt said. Zach Murdock,, "No charges to be filed against vandal who defaced ‘Black Lives Matter’ message on UConn’s Spirit Rock," 25 Sep. 2020

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

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First Known Use of vandal

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vandal

borrowed from Late Latin Vandalī (plural) (Latin Vindilī, Vandiliī), probably borrowed from Germanic *wand-il-, noun derivative from a verbal base *wend- "wind, wrap, turn, move" (whence Old English windan to twist, move with speed or force"), as in *auza-wandil-, perhaps, "dawn-wanderer," name of a star and mythological figure (whence Old Norse Aurvandill, Old English ēarendel) — more at wind entry 3

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Time Traveler for vandal

Time Traveler

The first known use of vandal was in 1530

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Statistics for vandal

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vandal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for vandal


How to pronounce vandal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vandal

: a person who deliberately destroys or damages property : a person who vandalizes something


van·​dal | \ ˈvan-dəl How to pronounce vandal (audio) \

Kids Definition of vandal

: a person who destroys or damages property on purpose


van·​dal | \ ˈvand-ᵊl How to pronounce vandal (audio) \

Legal Definition of vandal

: a person who willfully destroys, damages, or defaces property belonging to another or to the public

History and Etymology for vandal

Vandal, member of a Germanic tribe who sacked Rome in A.D. 455

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