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
vandaladjective, often capitalized
Vandalicplay \van-ˈda-lik\ adjective
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 of vandal from the Web
For the second time in just over two weeks, vandals have damaged or destroyed curbside mailboxes outside homes on Naperville's far southwest side.
Two alleged members of an anti-gentrication anarchist group were ordered to stand trial Wednesday for participating in a riot May 1 by masked and black-garbed vandals who caused more than $100,000 in damage to new housing in North Philadelphia.
Two years later, after Seattle Public Schools were persuaded to keep them intact, vandals struck.
Back then, his group protected the sacred sites from looters and vandals.
And just weeks ago, vandals defaced a historical marker outside the store in Money, Miss., where Emmett had the fateful encounter that led to his death.
Relatives of people who commit mass shootings often choose secret burials in unmarked graves with small or nonexistent ceremonies, designed to keep away critics and vandals.
A power outage expected to affect the Central Business District Thursday (June 29) had expanded to other areas of New Orleans after an Entergy substation was damaged by vandals overnight, according to Entergy officials.
Pressure for the city to act has built since 2015, when vandals spray-painted over the street signs.
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.
Origin and Etymology of 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 4wind
First Known Use: 1530See Words from the same year
VANDAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of vandal for English Language Learners
: a person who deliberately destroys or damages property : a person who vandalizes something
VANDAL Defined for Kids
Definition of vandal for Students
: a person who destroys or damages property on purpose
History for vandal
When the Roman Empire ended there was a great movement of peoples in and around Europe. Tribes that we call “Germanic” settled in many areas; some, as the Angles, Saxons, Franks, and Bavarians, became ancestors of the people of modern England, France, and Germany. Another such tribe was the Vandals, who swept through Europe, crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, and seized the Roman province of Africa in the year 429, finally disappearing from history in the 500s and 600s. Though the Vandals were no worse than other tribes in a violent age, they became the model of the destructive barbarian, and their name became attached to anyone who willfully defaces public property.
Legal Definition of vandal
: a person who willfully destroys, damages, or defaces property belonging to another or to the public
Origin and Etymology of vandal
Vandal, member of a Germanic tribe who sacked Rome in A.D. 455
Seen and Heard
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