van·dal | \ˈvan-dᵊl \

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 \ 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

As residents and employers fled Detroit over the years, however, train traffic dwindled and then ceased, and the station became a target of vandals, graffiti artists and photographers looking to capture images of urban decay. Neal E. Boudette, New York Times, "Ford Aims to Revive a Detroit Train Station, and Itself," 17 June 2018 Aarti thinks skateboarders and vandals are the main culprits. Sven Berg, The Seattle Times, "Heat, water and trucks are destroying a Boise mosaic," 9 July 2018 Scooters left haphazardly on city sidewalks have been targeted by vandals and dumped in garbage cans and the San Francisco Bay, tossed into trees and smeared with human waste. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Only in San Francisco: Activists block Google buses with scooters to protest 'techsploitation'," 31 May 2018 Cleveland police released surveillance footage in the hopes that the public would provide tips on the identity of the vandal, but no arrests have been made. Adam Ferrise,, "Serial brick-throwing at Cleveland abortion clinic cited in annual report," 10 May 2018 The vandals, who oftentimes are listless area teenagers. Alison Kuznitz,, "Curbing Crime In Thompsonville: Civilians, Officials To Meet On Potential Block Watch," 9 July 2018 The vandals tore off the door, knocked off the copula and removed a little bell inside. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "Vandals destroy north-side man's spirit to continue his Little Free Library," 6 July 2018 The building fell into deep disrepair and was the target of vandals and trespassers. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Ford revels in a new 'city of possibility'; residents hopeful, skeptical," 20 June 2018 No arrests have been made, and investigators have not been able to identify the vandals, one of which was captured by surveillance cameras in the June 12 incident. Adam Ferrise,, "Serial brick-throwing at Cleveland abortion clinic cited in annual report," 10 May 2018

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 4

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

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Statistics for vandal

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vandal

The first known use of vandal was in 1530

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More Definitions for vandal



English Language Learners Definition of vandal

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


van·dal | \ˈvan-dəl \

Kids Definition of vandal

: a person who destroys or damages property on purpose


van·dal | \ˈvand-ᵊl \

Legal Definition of vandal 

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

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Comments on vandal

What made you want to look up vandal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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